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Home / Articles / News / Tech Today /  Apple to sell subscriptions through App Store
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Tuesday, February 15,2011

Apple to sell subscriptions through App Store

By McClatchy-Tribune News Service

SAN FRANCISCOApple Inc., breaking from its past practice, will soon allow customers to buy subscriptions and other digital content from its popular iPhone and iPad devices, but some of those changes may prove problematic for companies such as Amazon.com.

Under the plan unveiled Tuesday by Apple, sales through the new service would be billed through the App Store, the same as regular applications. Apple said its new service will allow publishers to sell subscriptions from within their apps.

Such a service has been widely expected for some time, and Apple teamed up with News Corp. earlier in the month to launch The Daily, a "newspaper" for the iPad selling for 99 cents a week. News Corp. is also the owner of MarketWatch, publisher of this report.

However, as part of Tuesday's announcement, Apple said it will no longer allow app publishers to link to outside Web pages to sell content.

Amazon's Kindle app is one of the most popular on the App Store. The app allows customers to read e-books purchased through the company's Kindle Store or on other Kindle devices. To date, Amazon hasn't sold e-books through the Kindle app itself; rather, the app links to Amazon's website, where customers can order e-books.

An Apple spokeswoman said that companies such as Amazon will be allowed to sell e-books from within their apps. But those sales will be subject to Apple's fee requirements, which currently allow Apple to collect 30 percent of the revenue from such sales.

Apple and Amazon became competitors in the e-book business when Apple launched the iPad last April. Apple's iBooks app allows customers to purchase e-books through its own online bookstore.

Representatives for Seattle-based Amazon couldn't be immediately reached for comment. The new arrangement would theoretically make Kindle books sold through apps on Apple devices less profitable than the same versions sold for Amazon's own device.

Many analysts already believe that Amazon sells Kindle content at near-loss in order to build up share of the fast-growing e-book market. The company doesn't disclose specific sales data for the Kindle device or its e-books.

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(c) 2011, MarketWatch.com Inc.

Visit MarketWatch on the Web at http://www.marketwatch.com

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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