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image I want to choose software for reading e-books. That is one reason why I invested in an iPod Touch rather than a system as closed as the Kindle. I knew that a bunch of e-reader apps would come along in time. In fact, we already have Stanza, eReader, BookShelf and Bookz. But could greedy Suits at Apple be about to spoil the fun?

Apple’s App Store for the Touch and iPhone has just banned the Podcaster app, which it may have regarded as an iTunes rival. Luckily you can bypass the App Store and still download Podcaster to "subscribe, manage, stream and download podcasts directly to your iPhone and iPod Touch." No jail-breaking needed. Just supply your UDID and wait for the Podcaster people to provision your iPod, which might take a few days.

Grouchy just the same

I just hope the suits will back off; consider the E ramifications if they don’t. Will Apple war in the future against e-reading programs and related distribution systems if it gets more serious about e-books via iTunes? If so, more than a few e-book-related developers would migrate to Android. At the consumer level, such idiocy would very possibly kill any interest many e-bookers had in a larger tablet version of the Touch. For now, Dave Winer writes:

I wouldn’t invest in or develop an iPhone app because Apple could decide not to approve it, and if they don’t approve it you can’t sell it. You can’t even give it away. You don’t find out if you’ve been approved until the last step, after you’ve fully invested, so you could lose, totally, if Apple says no. Permalink to this paragraph

At first this might have seemed ridiculous if you didn’t know Apple, you might assume they’d only keep out apps that somehow damaged the iPhone, but it hasn’t turned out that way.  Permalink to this paragraph

Yesterday it came out that they rejected an app called Podcaster because it competed with iTunes, an Apple product. Maybe it was better than iTunes in some way, or simpler, more focused, had features iTunes didn’t have? It doesn’t matter, it illustrates exactly why Apple shouldn’t assume this power, or if they insisit on it, you’d have to be crazy to develop iPhone apps.  Permalink to this paragraph

Consider this possibility. Next year Apple announces an app that does what your previously authorized iPhone app does. You have competition, so another competitor, even if it is the platform vendor, isn’t that big a deal, right? Well what if they de-authorize your app because it duplicates functionality of theirs? Think you could live with that? Permalink to this paragraph

Caveat: Apple may remotely turn off Podcaster in the future, as the developers warn. Rotten Apple!

And speaking of a monopolist-style mindset: Stuck in Google’s Doghouse, in the New York Times—plus a related Techmeme roundup.

 
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