Amazon's Cloud Reader: Beginning of the HTML5 surge vs. Apple's App Store vig

Amazon's Cloud Reader: Beginning of the HTML5 surge vs. Apple's App Store vig

Summary: Amazon kicks off the end run around Apple's in-app purchase restrictions with a snazzy HTML5 app that will likely be emulated by other publishers.

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Amazon launched its Kindle Cloud Reader, which is designed to use HTML5 to do an end run around Apple App restrictions and the move could be emulated by a wide range of publishers.

The Kindle Cloud Reader, available on Google Chrome and Apple Safari with more browser support on deck, brings in-app purchases to the iPhone and iPad. The big question with this experiment is whether folks will use the HTML5 version over a semi-crippled Kindle app.

Last month, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and others pulled in-app purchase buttons. Why? Apple wanted a cut of the in-app purchases. The Apple fee kills margins too much so the HTML5 migration is well under way. Vudu also moved to an HTML5 app.

And Amazon just kicked off the festivities. Like all Kindle apps, the Cloud Reader synchronizes everything in your library. It looks sweet on the iPad and works nicely on the PC. I used the Cloud Reader to get reacquainted with the Black Swan for rather obvious market reasons.

It's no coincidence that Amazon picked Chrome and Safari to work with first. Both Google and Apple largely control app ecosystems. The Cloud Reader is insurance against Google also doing away with in-app purchases somehow. That move is unlikely, but HTML5 will increasingly make sense in all cases.

On the PC, I found the Kindle Cloud Reader as something I'd use in a pinch. On a tablet, the Kindle Cloud Reader is a keeper. Adrian Kingsley Hughes highlighted an initial tour. You'll note that the interface simply works better on the iPad.

Kendrick: Kindle Cloud Reader: You cannot keep Amazon from its buyers

The challenge Amazon---and anyone going the HTML5 route---will be user behavior. Will users go with a browser based version over an app? As wireless service speeds increase via 4G it's likely that the browser wins the day. That transition may take years to play out, but HTML5 will wind up winning the day.

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Topics: Software Development, Amazon, Apple

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41 comments
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  • More than just publishers

    I suspect we are starting to see the non-app store implementation. It won't be long before we start seeing other types of apps going the same route.

    Wonder if control and greed has bit someone in the ass?
    :O
    rhonin
    • RE: Amazon's Cloud Reader: Beginning of the HTML5 surge vs. Apple's App Store vig

      @rhonin
      This is the same model they have for Apps, Apple always takes a 30% cut. So far everyone has been happy, do you think web apps will sell as well? the app store has advantages...
      Hasam1991
      • RE: Amazon's Cloud Reader: Beginning of the HTML5 surge vs. Apple's App Store vig

        @Hasam1991 They are not trying to sell apps, they are trying to sell content in this case books, the Kindle app is free, but Apple wants to cash in on Kindle content sales.
        mrlinux
      • RE: Amazon's Cloud Reader: Beginning of the HTML5 surge vs. Apple's App Store vig

        @Hasam1991

        I don't know that it is accurate to say everyone is happy. I suspect you could say, enough people tolerate that 30% for the store to be a success, If they lowered the cut, developers would probably be more happy, and they might even see more developers.
        zoredache
      • RE: Amazon's Cloud Reader: Beginning of the HTML5 surge vs. Apple's App Store vig

        @Hasam1991 Oh you're so right it has the advantage of paying Apple to tell you what you're allowed to read. Oh that's not an advantage is it? Oh well I guess it has the advantage of making Apple rich for doing no work at all much like most of their ideas. No work, no R&D, and sue everyone that stands in the way.
        blueskip
      • Given that Amazon used to charge 70% .....

        @Hasam1991 Amazon used to charge 70% so Apple actually forced Amazon to drop the fee. They may pay 30% to Apple, but right now eAuthors are down to paying 40% instead of 70.
        wackoae
    • RE: Amazon's Cloud Reader: Beginning of the HTML5 surge vs. Apple's App Store vig

      @rhonin
      First, Apple started with HTML support and pushed web apps. They didn't release the SDK for native until a year later, so try to get the timeline right. Second, having been in software development for some time, I feel *very* confident in saying that web apps will not replace native for many, many years. Native is will always be faster and will most likely always provide a richer experience.
      dhmccoy
      • RE: Amazon's Cloud Reader: Beginning of the HTML5 surge vs. Apple's App Store vig

        @dhmccoy
        I am very aware of this.
        Apple has adopted the app model and leveraged it well, sometimes too well.
        I am saying with this Amazon web app, others feeling the need to get out from under the app store control, can leverage this solution. I see no reason this won't grow.
        Speed of growth? If I knew that I would be hedging aligning stocks now.... :|
        rhonin
      • RE: Amazon's Cloud Reader: Beginning of the HTML5 surge vs. Apple's App Store vig

        edited out:
        Kaptah
      • RE: Amazon's Cloud Reader: Beginning of the HTML5 surge vs. Apple's App Store vig

        @dhmccoy

        Then they refused to implement HTML 5 properly so they could force peeople to develop "apps" with their ancient development system.

        My HTML 5 apps runs fine on Windows Mango, Android and all the big boy OSs as well on multiple browsers, but not iOS.
        tonymcs@...
    • RE: Amazon's Cloud Reader: Beginning of the HTML5 surge vs. Apple's App Store vig

      @rhonin
      "Wonder if control and greed has bit someone in the ass?"

      Definitely. Apple deciding they deserve 30% of books they didn't sell has caused me to delete iBooks from my iOS devices and to stop recommending iPads as readers. Their greedy cash grab has and will continue to cost them.
      BillDem
      • RE: Amazon's Cloud Reader: Beginning of the HTML5 surge vs. Apple's App Store vig

        @BillDem
        Does it matter? the iPad will continue to sell. I own 1 ipad 2 and I'm already looking for a second one for the wife. We also have a kindle which is better than reading on the iPad. I guess I'm a Apple fanboi and Amazon fanboi....
        Hasam1991
      • RE: Amazon's Cloud Reader: Beginning of the HTML5 surge vs. Apple's App Store vig

        @Hasam1991
        Just curious: When did fanboy lose the y?
        x I'm tc
    • RE: Amazon's Cloud Reader: Beginning of the HTML5 surge vs. Apple's App Store vig

      @rhonin

      My 2 cents is that apps will continue to thrive, with only the heavyweights (who have the name recognition) like Amazon to pull off the non-app store shift. Smaller developers will continue to pay Apple their cut in exchange for premium "app storefront" real estate and the volume it brings. Which is better, paying Apple's premium or nobody knowing you're service exists?

      I understand browser-based apps can be found other ways (i.e. Google search), but let's face it, there's a good reason store owners display certain products in their windows, near the front of their store and at the end of aisles.

      There's also the free app factor and that plays a role for paid apps as well.
      TroyMcClure
      • Premium storefront?

        @piousmonk Have you tried finding anything obscure in the app store? You get the top 25 or so of any category. Try to find a game not in the top 50 if you only know some part of the title. What about games good for 3 yr old boys? What about games that have animals or spelling games? I mean there are 500,000 apps in the store, but I've probably only seen a few hundred that float to the top.
        A Gray
      • RE: Amazon's Cloud Reader: Beginning of the HTML5 surge vs. Apple's App Store vig

        @ A Gray

        I've never had much difficulty, but I'll admit I've rarely searched for a specific app. More often, I've searched for a specific type of app and never really had much difficulty regardless of where it ranks.
        TroyMcClure
    • RE: Amazon's Cloud Reader: Beginning of the HTML5 surge vs. Apple's App Store vig

      @rhonin I would say it has and about darned time too.
      blueskip
    • RE: Amazon's Cloud Reader: Beginning of the HTML5 surge vs. Apple's App Store vig

      @rhonin

      Apple deliberately restricted HTML 5 on iOS so that interactive web apps that use audio and video would be unable to function (preventing autoplay from working in the audio and video tags)

      HTML 5 is more than adequate to duplicate the antiquated apps that fill out Apple's store.

      Time for Apple to start conforming to standards.
      tonymcs@...
  • 4th Generation Kindle interface? :) (NT)

    (NT)
    Bruce Lang
  • RE: Amazon's Cloud Reader: Beginning of the HTML5 surge vs. Apple's App Store vig

    I don't think Apple cares, remember they also sell content, iTunes, iBooks... in essense if you want to have an app that sells you pay Apple 30%, if you don't want to have an app, go with HTML 5 and avoid paying Apple.
    Hasam1991