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Barnes & Noble Announces iPad App: Will Apple Really Let It Fly?


Apple's history of eliminating apps that compete with its own is as old as the App Store itself. So why, exactly, does Barnes & Noble think they can get away with submitting its eReader app for the iPad?

From browsers to music players to email, Apple firmly removes any app that could conceivably compete with its own first-party apps. And with the iPad staking its claim as the ebook reader to beat, Apple is opening up its own iBooks bookstore. Yet Barnes & Noble, makers of the competing Nook and its similarly competing B&N eReader store, announced that they'll be bringing a custom version of the store to the iPad at launch. What?

The B&N eReader app is already available in the App Store for iPhone and iPod Touch, complete with its own micropayment system for buying books, but then, Apple doesn't have its own bookstore for that platform. Why would Barnes & Noble make this announcement, knowing full well that traditional Apple would smack it down immediately in the approval process?

Because Apple might just let it go. The result of Barnes & Noble's app (and Amazon's, for that matter) appearing in the app store would just further serve to place the iPad head and shoulders above the Nook and Kindle in capability. Both B&N and Amazon have huge, rich ebook stores—likely bigger than iBooks will be at launch—and if the iPad has access to them, it takes away one more reason to go with a competitor. It's not the only reason; the Nook's and Kindle's e-ink screen is still easier on the eyes than the iPad's LCD, but it's still one step toward making other ebook readers obsolete. Either way, Apple wins.

[Barnes & Noble]

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  • Kevin Darty

    You do realize that Apple approved Amazon's Kindle app for iPhone a long time ago right? So, you can bet that Kindle will be on the iPad as well so why would anyone think that Barne's & Noble's app wouldn't be allowed? It is in Apple's best interest to allow all such eBook Reader Apps to be available to the iPad. Doing so will only increase their sales and give more credence to the platform. If you check the App Store you will find tons of eBook Readers (Magazines, Comic Books, Book Publisher specific Readers, etc). Sorry, but the author of this article clearly has never own an iPhone or iPod Touch otherwise he would be a little more knowledgeable on the subject.

  • Alexander Hoffmann

    If Apple were to deny B&N and Amazon access to the iPad, the would have a lawsuit on their hands in no time.
    It would be hard to argue for Apple, they are not hampering competition by only allowing iBooks on the device.