Well, this could be interesting.

Amazon yesterday announced the availability of its new Kindle Cloud Reader, an HTML 5 web app designed to let you read your Kindle books on devices without necessarily having to install the standalone Kindle app.

Amazon's reasons for this are clear: Apple started demanding a 30% cut of all in-app purchases, and Amazon (as well as others) complied with this demand not by giving Apple its 30% but by removing support for in-app purchases from its programs. Either way, Apple wins: it either gets its money, or it pushes its competitors out of the low-margin-but-ascendant ebook and digital music businesses on its devices (bystanders take note: this is the sort of behavior that got Microsoft into so much hot water with regulators a decade or so ago). The Cloud Reader gives Amazon a chance to take advantage of the iPad's ubiquity while also avoiding giving Apple an unsustainably large cut.

The Kindle Cloud Reader supports only three browsers at this point: the iPad version of Safari, the desktop version of Safari, and Google Chrome - support for other browsers is "coming soon." As time goes on, I suspect we'll start to see more developers take this route, since HTML 5 apps not only sit outside of Apple's tightly-controlled App Store but are also fairly portable across all HTML 5-supporting browsers - Apple may soon be in the uncomfortable position of having to compete with apps using a standard that it helped to popularize.

Source: Amazon

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  • Pirks - Thursday, August 11, 2011 - link

    FU Apple :P
  • darwinosx - Thursday, August 11, 2011 - link

    Too bad you couldn't post this from your Playbook since it doesn't come with e-mail. or a a calendar.
  • Pirks - Thursday, August 11, 2011 - link

    You are one dumb idiot. It comes with the best WEB BROWSER among ARM-based tablets. Do you even know what web browser is, ya dumb idiot? :)))
  • Spazweasel - Thursday, August 11, 2011 - link

    Because Amazon takes less than a 30% cut of cover price on the physical books it sells, right?

    Oh, wait.

    They take 50%.

    F U Amazon.
  • darwinosx - Thursday, August 11, 2011 - link

    Amazon charges 30% themselves to put content on a Kindlee so they are not exactly in a position to complain.
  • steven75 - Thursday, August 11, 2011 - link

    Amazon charges 40% to sell a self-published book on Amazon.com.

    How is that not exactly the same thing?
  • diamondsw2 - Thursday, August 11, 2011 - link

    Do recall that Apple's "30% for all in-app content" wasn't anti-competitive, rather it was to head off apps that were "free" and then doing all in-app purchasing via a web view. Although no top-tier developers had done it yet, it would be like downloading a free Angry Birds demo, then buying the "full" version via a web frame inside the app - whereas Apple used to get a 30% cut to support the store, now they'd get nothing, but still be supporting everything.

    Unfortunately, a blanket "everything purchased in an app is subject to 30%" ends up sucking a whole lot for things like the Kindle that already had an ecosystem of its own, and was never designed for an extra 30% hit (nor should it).

    So, what does Apple do? Let a raft of "freemium" apps flood in that bypass the store, in-app purchasing, and offer a poor user experience (no impulsive "tap to buy" simplicity that Apple and, apparently, users like), or lose out on and make enemies of some very large established companies? Either way Apple was screwed, so they decided to take the lumps and keep it simple - anything bought in the app was subject to the standard 30/70 split.

    If anyone can suggest how they'd avoid the freemium debacle I describe above, without angering the very groups they did (Amazon, etc), by all means, I'd love to see an integrative solution to all of this.
  • Exodite - Thursday, August 11, 2011 - link

    Considering that Apple already have a very extensive, draconian even, review process of applications that make it to the App Store this is a non-issues.

    I'm quite sure their legal department could come up with a definition of what does and doesn't conform to reasonable use of in-app purchases along the lines you've pointed out.
  • TheHeathen - Thursday, August 11, 2011 - link

    Perhaps Microsoft should give Apple a taste of their own medicine and charge them 30% for iTunes purchases on Windows. If Apple can charge 30% for purchases made through a native application on their platform why not Microsoft?
  • steven75 - Thursday, August 11, 2011 - link

    Because Microsoft doesn't have a store? /obvious

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