Steve Jobs' Email Shows Apple Changed In-App Purchasing Rules Specifically To Retaliate Against Amazon

from the oops dept

In the ongoing legal fight between Apple and the DOJ over how Apple will be punished for violating antitrust law concerning ebooks, the DOJ has presented one interesting bit of new evidence: an email from Steve Jobs, in which he flat out tells Phil Schiller to change how in-app purchases work solely to punish Amazon for daring to suggest that it’s easy to switch from an iPhone to Android, since your Kindle books show up in both places.

In case you can’t read that, it involves Schiller complaining to Jobs and other top Apple execs about a Kindle TV ad that shows someone buying an ebook via an iPhone and having it appear on an Android phone as well. He then notes:

While the primary message is that there are Kindle apps on lots of mobile devices, the secondary message that can’t be missed is that it is easy to switch from iPhone to Android.

Not fun to watch

Less than an hour later, Jobs replies with a suggestion:

The first step might be to say that they must use our payment system for everything, including books (triggered by the newspapers and magazines). If they want to compare us to Android, let’s force them to use our far superior payment system. Thoughts?

That’s pretty damning, as it shows the decision had little to do with reasonable choices for consumers, and a lot to do with punishing a competitor.

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Companies: amazon, apple

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Comments on “Steve Jobs' Email Shows Apple Changed In-App Purchasing Rules Specifically To Retaliate Against Amazon”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Response to: blaktron on Aug 23rd, 2013 @ 2:48pm

Which was the point made in ‘Risky Buisiness’: you have to do whatever it takes however illegal or immoral to succeed in business. Its only when Tom Cruise offers the Harvard Professor a bribe to be accepted into Harvard Business School does the professor deem Cruise evel enough to be a modern business man. Its an idea that really spread fom the 80s.

Wally (profile) says:


Wouldn’t that flood the e-book market if Apple’s purchasing system was fully interchangeable with Amazon’s?

I ask this because doing that was one of the the main cause of the North American Video Game Crash of 1983. The Colecovision could play Atari 2600 software natively and all you needed was a hardware adapter to for the differing pinouts. Oh sure it’s good for the consumer, but that also needs balance with making a profit off of licensing.

I really cannot justify the words shown though. Personally though, at that time, the Kindle Fire was a terrible product unless you decided to root it.

blaktron (profile) says:

Re: Wait..

Hey, I’ve read a few of your post now, and I have a general comment to you. There’s nothing wrong with liking apple, they are a cool company, but you are making arguments that are based on a misunderstanding of history and some bent timelines. For example: the kindle fire didn’t exist in 2010, and the iPad was only a year old with precious few competitors. Apple’s payment system was considerably better than Googles at the time, a fact fixed in 2011.

Your history below is also fairly inaccurate and seems a bit based on bio movies, and all this ties together to give you a bit of a fanboyish zeal and makes your arguments easily dismissed. Which is too bad because even if I disagree they are well articulated.

Wally (profile) says:

Re: Say one thing, imply another

The purchasing system for both Anazon and iBooks were as good as each other. Amazon itself had fairly cruddy hardware to read e-books on.

Keep in mind that by this time, Steve Jobs was having his first treatments chemo therapy done and they gave him steroids so his body wouldn’t shut down. This makes a person crotchety and downright squirrelly.

Wally (profile) says:

Type of attitude...

Historically speaking, that’s the same type of crap that got Steve Jobs ousted from Apple in the first place.

He was initially booted from the Lisa project (named for his daughter) and so to get revenge he poached both former Xerox STAR and current Apple staff…some of the latter were working on the Lisa. It’s when his obsession with a quiet appliance got the better of him with the Apple III that got him fired.

Other things about Steve Jobs people really didn’t like is that if he didn’t like your idea, he would totally ignore you. That attitude sparked the development of the Macintosh II series after his ouster.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

If you force somebody to pay you and only you it doesn’t matter what they do after the fact does it?

That is what he meant by “forcing to use our superior payment system”, it doesn’t matter in what hardware you conduct the sale Apple would get a cut, further if the other side is forced to use that and can’t use another they also get boxed in and have to listen to the demands of the payment system dude meaning the payment system master also gets vetting powers.

Get it now?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

That’s a complete lie. Amazon has a choice, either use Apple’s IAP for eBooks, or not offer any eBooks for sale through their app. They chose the latter. It just means you have to purchase your books using Safari instead of the app. Ideal? No, but why should Amazon get a special dispensation that no other app maker gets? Because they had a monopoly on eBooks at the time?

Wally (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Jobs had his good and bad moments just like every other person the tech business (well save Steve Wozniak…who…well let’s face it, he’s his own freaking category of awesome that separates him from everyone else). That “bastard” (as you put it) was a major influence in the technology world when he and Woz founded Apple Computer. Apple’s Apple I was the first computer that didn’t require some sort of RGB monitor or a converter for display output.

Wally (profile) says:

Re: Re:

In spite of his attitude, it was his vision to get an easy to use home computing appliance into the home computer market. My avatar resembles the 512K Mac…which is the predecessor to the original. The original Macintosh did raise the bar in affordable home computing. It only had 128KB of RAM and had yet it had a fully bitmapped GUI which is something to be said.

So while I don’t blame you or judge you for not buying an iPhone or iPad, I will condemn anyone who might judge him as selfish without looking how the original Macintosh affected the world.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

I will condemn anyone who might judge him as selfish without looking how the original Macintosh affected the world.

I’m confused as to why these concepts should be related to each other? Did the Mac have a huge affect? Undoubtedly (not for the better, in my opinion, but that’s a different discussion).

Does that mean he wasn’t selfish? No, it doesn’t speak to that one way or the other.

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