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Amazon's Launches HTML5-based Kindle Cloud Reader

David Gilbert


Amazon's Launches HTML5-based Kindle Cloud Reader

Amazon was obviously not happy being told to change its Kindle app by Apple and has come up with a neat workaround to allow people read and purchase Kindle books without having to give Apple anything.

Amazon had to remove the link to the Kindle Store from its iPad app recently due to changes in Apple’s in-app purchase system, whereby Apple gets the same cut of these purchases as it does of the purchase of apps themselves.

Now Amazon has released a HTML5-based web app, called the Kindle Cloud Reader, which works with the Chrome and Safari browsers – and more importantly has been optimised to work with Safari on the iPad. Therefore Apple won’t get dollar one from any books purchases via this web app.

The Kindle Cloud Reader offers users all the usual features, such as accessing your library of books; purchase once, read everywhere; as well as in-book options of altering text size and note-taking.

Currently there is no version of Kindle Cloud Reader available for the iPhone and the app is also not supported on Honeycomb tablets, but Amazon has said it will be expanding support for the Kindle Cloud Reader in the future.

Amazon Kindle Cloud Reader

With US video service Vudu recently announcing that it is also planning on releasing a HTML5-based app, it could mark a shift in the way companies deal with side-stepping Apple’s rather stringent in-app purchase system.

Source: Kindle Cloud Reader

A Scotland

August 10, 2011, 5:37 pm

How is this not another example of blatantly anti-competitive practice by Apple and why doesn't the appropriate regulator get stuck into them the way they did with Microsoft's bundling of Internet Explorer with Windows? This genuinely baffles me and I would be interested in others' thoughts.


August 10, 2011, 8:19 pm

US regulators have made threatening noises about anti-competitive practices by Apple twice - the first time in relation to Google Voice (the FCC opened an investigation) and the second time in relation to cross-platform development tools (the FTC said it might start an investigation). Apple backed down in both cases, making the investigation unnecessary.

I've also heard unverified rumours to the effect that the reason Apple watered down their original rules on in-app subscriptions - they'd originally basically said that all web-based subscriptions also had to be made available in-app - was because they were warned that that would lead to a FTC / DoJ investigation in the US. So it's not like the regulators are not doing anything. Rather, it would seem that Apple have learned from Microsoft's woes and have been backing down on just enough of their policies to forestall a full-blown antitrust investigation.

A Scotland

August 11, 2011, 3:03 pm

Much appreciated @lensmann.


August 11, 2011, 4:05 pm

It's as anti-competitive as Amazon not letting Apple set up a store front on their website.

Apple does have an argument that it is providing the platform to enhance sales, but there comes a point they need to learn that they can't and shouldn't try to monetize all the activities on their platform. It just encourages firms to find loopholes like this.

Make no mistake, Apple spends a great deal supporting the infrastructure that allowed us to download apps/books/content at the cost of their bandwidth etc...but they need to also learn that people buy iPhones because of the app developers and Kindle is a major attraction to the platform that should be valued in kind.

A Scotland

August 12, 2011, 9:06 pm

Not sure that is a helpful comparison. Amazon's website is a single product. Apple is using its monopoly power in smartphone operating systems to bundle its iBooks and making it unduly difficult for rival ebook readers to compete. iBooks and iOS are no more the same product than Windows and Internet Explorer were/are. The appropriate comparison is the one I set out above (USA v Microsoft).

In any event Apple does have a store front on Amazon's website. Try searching for "Apple" on there.

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