Amazon Releases HTML 5 Kindle Web Appby Andrew Cunningham on August 11, 2011 7:13 AM EST
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.