Amazon strikes back at Apple with Kindle in-app purchasing

Amazon strikes back at Apple with Kindle in-app purchasing

Summary: Amazon is allowing its Android users to buy content and subscriptions through in-app purchasing on its devices, and in doing so, striking at the heart of Apple's own policies.

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Amazon.com, still in bitter rivalry with Apple over their competing e-book and application store businesses, has struck back by today announcing an in-app purchasing service, allowing Amazon Appstore developers to offer digital subscriptions and content within apps and games on Android-running Kindle devices.

Millions of Kindle Fires and other Android devices will be able to buy content with Amazon's 1-Click service through many popular apps and games, including those from Adobe, Disney, Dow Jones, Gameloft, and the New York Post.

The two companies continue with an acrimonious and bitter battle over e-book pricing, and the approaches to their respective application stores.

Despite the retail giant having no direct involvement in the case, with it being seen as more of a victim than an instigator, Apple along with five major international publishers are being investigated by EU and U.S. antitrust authorities for conspiring to fix e-book prices.

The case revolves around Amazon's 'wholesale' pricing model, allowing e-book writers to sell their content at a loss, compared to Apple's 'agency' model which forces a 30 percent cut of all e-book sales.

Apple, the market leader in application providing, forced a change to its App Store, which has over half a million applications, disallowing in-app purchases.

In mid-July, Apple changed its policy to force major applications and content publishers to give the maker of shiny rectangles a 30 percent cut of the profits made. Ultimately, it meant iOS developers had to change their applications and issue an update removing in-app purchases, or risk being thrown out of the lucrative App Store, which could kill revenues.

It meant major players like Barnes & Noble with the Nook app, and ditto for Amazon with its Kindle app, had to remove such in-app buttons, requiring the two Apple rivals to give a cut of the profits back to Cupertino for the privilege of renting space on the App Store.

Apple infamously sued Amazon over the "App Store" trademark, claiming it owned the name. The iPad and iPhone maker, both devices of which have an application store pre-installed, sought a preliminary injunction against Amazon from using the term, but was ultimately denied in 2011.

Amazon prevailed, and brought out its own application store for Android in March 2011, which now has thousands of apps and games available.

"With the Amazon Appstore for Android In-App Purchasing solution, you can reach customers with existing accounts who have already bought apps, including millions of Kindle Fire customers," the company said on its developer blog.

"Our simple, secure, and trusted 1-Click purchase experience is easy for customers to use, increasing conversion rates for purchases within your app. Plus, we designed our in-app purchasing (IAP) solution to be simple and easy to integrate so you can be up and running quickly."

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Topics: Apple, Amazon, Hardware, Mobility

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12 comments
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  • Amazon v Apple

    I am a 1st adopter of: iPhone, iPad, 12" MacBook Air, B&N Touch, and Amazon Fire, as well as owning a multitude of Mac computers, Kindles, B&N Color, etc. The vast majority of my purchases (i.e. music, movies, books, apps, etc.) are from the Amazon ecosystem. Why? Trust. Amazon has earned my trust. rs
    Reggie S
    • As Apple had mine:)

      So in our own way we agree. The company that gives us what we want and does it repeatedly (in my case for decades now) gets our business!

      Pagan jim
      James Quinn
  • Good grief. I guess we know which side of the issue

    the blog author comes down on.
    baggins_z
    • tell us

      I do not know. customers' side?
      pupkin_z
      • Customazoner's side

        I mean, seriously, author makes it look as if Apple and Amazon are super-competitive against each other, while Apple has sold like over 70 million iPads to date versus 5 million Kindle Fires. You really have to take side to make it look equal.

        Also, those devices do not really compete even on hardware and price levels, not only in sales. Kindle Fire is small subsidized low-specifications device, while iPad is much pricier full-fledged tablet.
        DDERSSS
  • How is this an Apple vs. Amazon issue?

    Seems that it is more of an Android vs. Amazon issue? I read books on the iPad with Kindle. I buy music from both. I own an iPad, but I buy stuff from Amazon.

    It seems that the only one out in this scenario is Google and Android. Amazon is siphoning users to the Kindle fire away from Google.
    dhmccoy
    • How do you buy stuff from Amazon?

      Do you use Safari on your iPad or hop on a PC (Personal Computer) and hit Amazon's website? It used to be that you could use the Kindle app itself to make purchases but AFAIK that has not been possible on any iOS device for quite some time now. From what I recall that was due to Apple wanting Amazon and other companies to charge the same thing through an in app purchase as they would on their site [i]with[/i] Apple collecting 30% if done via an in app purchase. I do like Apple products - well I like my iPhone 4 anyhow I have not used any other Apple product in many years - but this was a particularly boneheaded move by Apple. And by Amazon enabling in app purchases on the Android platform they are both thumbing their nose at Apple and are perhaps enticing more people to use the Android platform.
      NonFanboy
      • So True

        My wife used to do in-app on her iPhone and became irritated with the change. She has since moved to Android and enjoys it. Having this expand will be even better for both of us (Prime account).
        Having both iTunes and Amazon, moving forward as Amazon expands their in-app accessability and we see a continued stagnation in this from Apple, it will become harder to go back or retry future Apple devices (iPad / iPhone).

        It's the little things that drive us from one ecosystem to another long term.
        This is one of many.....
        rhonin
      • I use the Amazon App

        Or I use Safari. It depends on what I feel like doing, but I just don't agree with you.

        If you can use the Amazon app or Safari to purchase stuff from Amazon, in-app purchasing from Amazon does nothing to change this. And it does little to nothing to entice people to use Android. What it does do is pull people deeper into the Kindle Fire ecosystem and that hits Google far more than it does Apple. I suspect few people even remember the kerfluffle over Amazon's(and others) in-app issue. I always thought it was a none issue. I can't buy stuff from Target at Best Buy either.
        dhmccoy
      • BTW

        Just to be clear, you have two apps you can use to purchase stuff from Amazon on the iOS. WindowShopper and the full Amazon App(both from Amazon), so saying you it isn't possible to buy stuff simply isn't true. I do it all that time.

        That, to me, is the advantage of iOS. I can buy stuff from Amazon or Apple on iOS.
        dhmccoy
      • How do you buy stuff from Amazon?

        I agree.(Do wish we could move past the fanboy thing, as I am sure I would be categorized as an Apple/Amazon fanboy.) I just think Amazon has taken the high road on this issue. rs
        Reggie S
      • @dhmccoy

        So the fact that Apple collects a fee of 30% per sale via in app purchases and expected Amazon to charge the same amount via the app as they do on their site (in essence making them absorb the 30%) is okay? This policy was not just towards Amazon but for ANY in app purchase made with an iOS device.

        I have to admit I'm surprised the Amazon App itself was not affected by this - I honestly never used the Amazon App and rarely use the Kindle App since I got my Nook Color and use Calibre to reformat the mobi files to ePub.
        NonFanboy