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Amazon Launches a Web-Based iPad Kindle Reader

Amazon has quietly launched a new web app called "Kindle Cloud Reader" that allows Chrome and Safari users to access their Kindle eBooks through their browsers. The Cloud Reader also supports the iPad version of Safari, giving Amazon a workaround to Apple's new subscription rules requiring any in-app sales to go through Apple's purchasing system.

As noted by TechCrunch, the new system is already live at and works quite well on the iPad:
The iPad version is especially good because the store is fully optimized for the device. And you can easily switch back and forth between the store and your own library. It feels like a native app, but it’s not.
The web app even supports local storage so that you can read your Kindle books even without a web connection.

Apple has been at odds with many content providers after implementing their new subscription rules preventing native iOS app publishers from selling content outside of Apple's own in-app system. Amazon complied with the rules by removing the Kindle Store button from their native application, but for the iPad now has this web-based option that does directly integrate with their sales system.

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106 months ago

Stuff like this shows how useful HTML5 can be. I'm pleased to see things like this myself, great work from Amazon.

Looking forward to see more things like this powered by HTML5.

Since it's HTML5, it's a bit like Amazon beat Apple at their own game with this. :D

And it really does serve Apple right for the terms they enacted. It's also a good move should Apple decide to become even more anti-competitive with their App Store terms.
Rating: 21 Votes
106 months ago
Seems like a pretty brilliant use of the latest HTML5 technologies (especially with the off-line functionality). The obvious benefit, as mentioned, would be getting around Apple's "give us 30% of the price for in-app purchases" rule; but it would seem to have other advantages as well. If Apple chose to dramatically change the API in a future release of iOS - or if Google did the same with Android, for that matter - Amazon wouldn't have to break a sweat. Kindle users would continue to have full access to their books on the iPad with no extra effort or feverish overtime work by their programers to update. It's not as if Apple or Google can remove HTML5 functionality without repercussions...
Rating: 11 Votes
106 months ago

A big corporation exploits the little guy, and the whole world cheers?

A sad day.

Neither of these companies are "Little Guys"

a joke maybe ?

the only exploitation has been on Apples part. Milking everyone with their stupid App store rules.
Too greedy and that is why Amazon did this.

But you understand that ....right?!
Rating: 11 Votes
106 months ago
touché, amazon.
Rating: 9 Votes
106 months ago
Ha !

This is funny and ironic seeing as Apple originally only wanted web based Apps with the original iPhone.
Rating: 9 Votes
106 months ago
How about them apples, Apple?
Rating: 9 Votes
106 months ago
A lot of the scrap on the iOS app store would be much better done as web apps. Much more universal, much less of a pain to develop for the developers and also would help with the crowding in the app store.

Let's face it, many of the apps are just document viewers or smallish databases. The problem is with the "gold rush", everyone went native, destroying basically 10 years of moving stuff to the Web where it fit gracefully. The 80s and 90s was where boxed software was the rage, where you had to install it locally. The late 90s brought us rich web applications where server-side dynamically generated HTML technologies the likes of J2EE and other, simpler stacks.

HTML5 solves a lot of the issues we had client side (offline storage, richer UIs) and moving forward, a lot of apps just make sense as webapps.
Rating: 9 Votes
106 months ago
This is brilliant you have 2 companies trying to out do each other and so they end up pushing each other for the better. Cant wait to see what this Amazon tablet brings and then how Apple responds.
Rating: 8 Votes
106 months ago
Good thing Steve Jobs pushed so hard for HTML5. Amazon wouldn't probably be able to put this together with Flash. Way to go Steve!
Rating: 7 Votes
106 months ago

It is a bit fun to be honest, how HTML5, that Apple use to crusade against Flash, is also coming back and biting them in the behinds when other companies refuse Apples rules.

Okay, let's summarize the old discussion again.

Apple pretended to champion HTML 5 for very simple reasons: Flash is a cross platform tool that allows the creation of STANDALONE applications - the app that you build for the iPhone would also run on an Android device or a Mac or a PC. Cross-platform capabilities are very dangerous to you when you want to lock-in people to your platform. Also, the Flash video format runs on any supported platform and since Apple wants to establish its own DRMed video format as a de facto standard, of course they don't want a third party technology competing with their own technology stack on their own platform.

HTML 5 on the other hand still is not an official standard and it requires a web browser to run. No standalone cross-platform apps, not even an official standard for video yet. So it's not remotely dangerous to Apple, especially since it's still more comfortable to use native apps (sold through the Apple App Store) over web apps. And Apple even looks good in the eyes of many users because they boast to support "an open standard" instead of "the proprietary Flash technology". Everybody who works in IT knows that this is all just BS, but the average Apple customer does not have enough technical background knowledge for making a proper judgment.

I'm sure that at this point Apple hates web browsers as much as Microsoft hated Netscape back in the day and that Apple would love to remove Safari from iOS so that their users would be forced to use apps for everything. When you sell platforms, open technology and open standards that make customers independent from your products are your natural enemy.

Companies like Amazon and Google have one major advantage in this game: They don't need to sell platforms or hardware in order to be successful. They ARE their own platforms and they are completely independent from hardware. They don't care what hardware you use because their software and stores work equally well across all platforms.

Apple's success is dependent on both their hardware AND their software; iTunes is only successful because of the iOS devices, and the iOS devices only sell because of the content and software fueled to them through the iTunes stores.

Now having a browser-based reader application is amazingly cool for Amazon customers. I'm running it here on my Windows notebook at work (in Google Chrome) and this thing works exactly as I expected it to work. It knows the position where I stopped reading on my Galaxy S2 or my Kindle at home and I don't even have to install anything on my machine to continue reading. I can now roam around the server room and read on any damn machine there if I want to while I wait for some computer jobs to finish. I love it.

Apple, on the other hand, has not even managed to ship an iBooks version of Mac OS X, let alone one for Microsoft Windows or - heaven forbid! - Android. No wonder that iBooks is not even remotely as successful as Kindle. Amazon, because they are not dependent on hardware sales, can provide a solution that is 100% customer oriented. Apple -has- to make compromises in order to protect their hardware sales. And in this case, these compromises make iBooks a less flexible and thus inferior offering.

It's just a question of time now until other content providers follow Amazon's example - or even use their platform - and publish their digital content using pure web technologies. As a side-effect, this will level the playing field between Android and iOS even more, since a huge amount of those apps in Apple's App Store are actually just eBooks, videos or music encapsulated in a reader/playback application.

Anyway. This is web reader is a win for customers and for Amazon, and it's big loss for Apple.

The irony is that the web, which made a lot of Apple's late success possible, is now turning against them. I guess the web simply doesn't like closed, proprietary technologies and attempted vendor lock-ins.
Rating: 7 Votes

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