The company has told some applications developers, including Sony that they can no longer sell content, such as e-books, inside their apps, or let customers have access to purchases they have made outside the App Store.
Apple declined Sony?s iPhone application that would let consumers purchase and read e-books purchased from the Sony Reader Store.
Apple told Sony that from now on, all in-app purchases would have to go through Apple, said Steve Haber, president of Sony?s digital reading division.
This move will most likely have an effect on companies like Amazon.com and others that sell e-book readers that compete with Apple?s iPad and offer free mobile apps so consumers can read their e-book purchases on additional devices. An iPad owner, for example, has not needed to own a Kindle to read Kindle books bought from Amazon.
The alteration may signal a change for Apple. The company has made more money selling hardware than music, e-books or apps. If people could have access to more content from more sources on their iPhones and iPads, then they would buy more devices.
The move is also startling, as Apple has indicated as of late that it would be more collaborative, not reducing the amount of collaboration, with periodical publishers and other pleased producers that want more control over how to allocate content on the iPad.
?This sudden shift perhaps tells you something about Apple?s understanding of the value of its platform,? said James L. McQuivey, a consumer electronics analyst at Forrester Research. ?Apple started making money with devices. Maybe the new thing that everyone recognizes is the unit of economic value is the platform, not the device.?