Apple's new policy states that all in-application purchases must go through iTunes, because Apple gets a 30% cut of the sales there. However, Apple is taking it all a step further, and also does not allow you to link to a website with a store - even if that store is loaded in a separate Safari instance. And just in case that wasn't enough - you're not even allowed to mention the store at all, link or no!
Kobo's James Dovey:
What's interesting is that it wasn't the App Store review team that rejected Kobo's attempts at getting their application update into the App Store - they actually approved each of these changes, only to have the approvals rescinded "from above". What's interesting about this is that Apple is specifically doing this to block competing content stores, further forcing people to use iTunes, and locking them into it even more. This is especially annoying for me in The Netherlands, since the iTunes Store is completely useless here - no movies, no television series (local or otherwise), barely any books, nothing. It's a digital wasteland.
Still, some good has come out of this, as Kobo is going to focus on HTML5 from now on for its e-reader application.
"Kobo believes in providing an open platform for users, and our HTML5 development will support the company's current app strategy to reach a broader base of users worldwide," said Michael Serbinis, Kobo's CEO, "HTML5 allows us to add more features and update our popular Reading Life social experience far more quickly, providing an agile method to deliver advanced enhancements to consumers without limitation."
It seems the only people Apple is hurting with this are iOS users. Considering how petty the company has been about this, I wouldn't put it past Apple to cripple HTML5 support on mobile Safari just to further frustrate Kobo's, Amazon's and others' experiences.