Newspapers are being told by Apple that they can no longer offer subscribers to their print editions free access to iPad apps, according to reports citing letters received by publishers from the Mac-maker.

According to reports on websites of dutch newspapers De Volkskrant and NRC, Apple is unhappy that it will miss out on its 30 per cent cut of subscription transactions for apps and will ban the practice after 1 April. Any newspapers who persist in offering subscriptions that don't include Apple will be removed from the App Store.

A number of European newspapers have reportedly been approached by Apple, though there have not been any rumours about US or UK newspapers being similarly targeted.

Publishers are unsurprisingly unhappy with being asked to give 30 per cent of subscription revenue to Apple. De Volksrant quotes publisher Gert Ysebaert of Flemish paper De Standaard as saying that the paper has frozen plans to create an iPad edition until the matter is discussed, However, Hans Deridder, managing editor of De Persgroep, which publishes De Volksrant urges caution, saying newspapers should wait for more details on what Apple's plans are before changing their course.

NRL also reports that this might get Apple in trouble with the European Commission with regard to abusing a monopoly position. The paper quotes a tweet by Dutch MP Afke Schaart saying she will ask table a parlimentary question, linking Apple's position to the actions taken by the Commissioner for Competition Neelie Kroes (now ICT) against Microsoft.

No information is forthcoming about whether Apple's position affects other publishing services that use transactions outside of Apple's App Store, such as Zinio.