Sony hits out at Apple over ebooks

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Sony has launched a public attack on Apple, saying the computer giant was unfairly blocking Sony customers from reading their electronic books on devices such as the iPhone and iPad.

Sony sells an e-reader of its own, but Apple devices are proving more popular and the Japanese group created software that would allow people who buy books from its online store to read on any device.

Apple has refused to let Sony offer the software for download to Apple devices - because, Sony claims, Apple wants to force people to buy books through its own iBookstore, or take a 30 per cent cut of ebook purchases from Sony. “With little notice, Apple changed the way it enforces its rules,” Sony told its ebook customers.

Apple has attracted criticism for the opacity of the rules governing which applications it will allow, and competition authorities in several countries are examining its actions. Apple lashed back at Sony, dismissing its claims and saying it just wanted to ensure that users of the Sony software also had the option of buying ebooks via Apple.