Amazon hoists Apple by its own HTML5 petard?
Amazon’s announcement of its Kindle Cloud Reader, based around HTML 5, is a wonder of irony. Apple has successfully been taking 30% of purchases made via anything bought through an app that was installed through the iTunes Store. In parallel it has denigrated Adobe’s Flash (albeit with some justice) as being insufficient for purpose while establishing a pro-HTML5 position as the ‘best’ way to move forwards. Many have been irritated by this ‘Apple knows best’ approach – but that is hardly new.
Thus the announcement by Amazon of its Kindle Cloud Reader is a delight. Available immediately for Safari on iOS and Chrome on Android it is an HTML5 app that is downloaded via either browser. Amazon says that it will become available for IE, Firefox, the Blackberry PlayBook Browser and others over time.
Once installed via that browser it can use your existing Amazon account so that you can not only access what you have previously downloaded via your traditional Amazon Kindle Reader but also order more, books and music – and use these off-line. Best of for some, Amazon thus escapes the strictures of the Apple’s iTunes Stores agreement – and keep the 30% that would otherwise have gone to Apple.
What does this mean?
While there is considerable significance in the move for Amazon (putting it into even greater competition with Apple as being the content-source for all), the larger significance is the Kindle Cloud Reader demonstrates to the world that an HTML5 solution that bypasses Apple’s iTunes Store constraints can be delivered. Expect many others to follow: they can now see what they to do, that it is do-able and that they can avoid Apple’s 30% charges.
Now, if only Amazon would share the 30% savings on content ordered via its Kindle Cloud Reader with authors and content originators (and I must declare some modest self-interest as an author here) then yesterday would truly have been a wonderful ‘giorno de San Lorenzo’ (he who was barbecued in Rome in AD 258). There seems little chance of such largesse from Amazon, despite the importance of what has occurred. But it would make Amazon that much more attractive — to content producers and consumers.
[“For ’tis the sport to have the enginer /Hoist with his owne petard” (Hamlet, Act III, Scene IV)]