Amazon Routes Around Apple With HTML 5 Kindle App

from the good-for-them dept

We’ve been pointing out for a while now how many app makers can easily route around Apple’s draconian app store rules by embracing HTML 5 and offering their apps through alternative means. While there are still some features that HTML 5 can’t do, it can handle an awful lot (and many “native” apps were really created in HTML 5 in the first place anyway. Still, it seems like Apple’s draconian gatekeeper-ism, and the ridiculously high 30% fee for in-app purchases, means that some big companies are finally discovering the HTML 5 opportunity. We already noted that the Financial Times’ app went HTML 5 to avoid Apple, and now Amazon has made a big splash by releasing its Kindle app as an HTML 5 web app rather than through Apple’s app store. Hopefully such high profile names help drive more companies to realize they have more than a single option. And maybe, just maybe, it’ll convince Apple to be just a smidge more open.

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Companies: amazon, apple

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Comments on “Amazon Routes Around Apple With HTML 5 Kindle App”

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53 Comments
Hephaestus (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

“You’d think Apple would be a little more Grateful for even being in existence, considering Microsoft saved them from total bankruptcy some years back. Instead they air commercials trashing the PC every which way.”

Apple owes its entire existence to Microsoft. Let me rephrase that, it owes its entire existence to the fact that Microsoft products suck, and there was nothing better.

When apple began they were the only game in town. The open PC bus happened and they faced competition and failed. MS bailed them out. Now everyone hates Microsoft, people were previously running towards apple products, and are now going android.

It is simple social evolution in action. People want to be free of overbearing rules.

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Lets dissect my sentence shall we.

“Steve Jobs and Apple Inc” – Firstly this refers to a specific person and a company that he control[ed]s , and is the subject of the ssentence. Pretty simple and seems you understood up to this part.

“used to have Open minds” – by using the paste tense ‘used’ this contextually states that once upon a time the subject in question had the ability to be open minded. Which is by definition “having a mind receptive to new ideas, arguments, etc.; unprejudiced” [ http://www.thefreedictionary.com/open-minded ]

then their brains kept falling out so they closed them.. – This concluding part brings in two opinions that state how I feel that the subject (Apple Inc et. al) at some time in the not too distant past, but after first having “open minds” became foolish (ie: brainless) and closed their minds becoming intolerant to any new ideas, arguments to the point of being stubborn.

Now my question is, if you have, as you allude to, brilliant skills of comprehension and the ability to factualise, where does “Open Source” come into my comment in any way, shape, or form, other than the use of the word open?

As for myself holding a Law Degree (LLB), or a BComp, or a Masters in some esoteric field like Digital Forensics (not to mention numerous SANS and other certifications) is beside the point when you have clearly shown to all and sundry that being a Brainless Intellect Free Fool (BIFF) suits you. πŸ˜‰

silvo says:

Here’s what Apple should do now. They should create a blacklist of all the web addresses where other companies are offering html5 apps and ban them from safari. Not only that, but they should also require other browsers in the app store to implement the blacklist or face removal from the marketplace. That would show them! How dare they play tricks on Apple! πŸ˜€

Biff K says:

More Cornell reasoning...

Apple has never invented or innovated anything. They stole everything from Xerox and Doug Englebart. Since stealing ideas is illegal they should be shut down like anybody else who uses other people’s ideas.

There, just wanted to get it over with. Carry on with your fallacious page-view whoring. Thank god Apple is here to be your tar baby, otherwise you’d have to write something substantial.

Btw, since Apple has been promoting HTML 5 as an alternative to native apps from the very beginning of the iPhone, isn’t it possible, just a little bit, that Amazon is doing what Apple wants them to do? Isn’t it possible that this affirms what Apple is doing, rather than being a counterexample? In what way is Amazon’s move to HTML 5 detrimental to whatever Apple’s plans are? You seem to have left out that part.

Nevermind, relax in the safety of your own delusions…

Biff K says:

Re: Re: More Cornell reasoning...

Straw man much? I never said everybody here is delusional. I was addressing Masnick and his hardon for Apple, not yours (should you have one).

So would you like to engage my argument? I put it in the last paragraph just to see if you could make it through all those hard, hard words and still remember your name.

(If you think I type a lot, Kim du Toit would probably blow your mind. And don’t get me started about Glenn Greenwald.)

Oliver says:

Re: More Cornell reasoning...

Biff,

I love blanket statements like your first. I’m so suprised to learn that apple stole everything from Xerox and Doug! They must have been incredible geniuses to invent the iPhone and iPad years before Apple.

Wake up troll. Everyone that uses electricity should be shut down by your reasoning and all credit given to Mr. Tesla for his original invention of AC current. Just because people borrow ideas does not invalidate the originality of their final product. Your statement makes no sense.

In what way is HTML 5 detrimental? Let me see… applying the bare minimum brainpower I can follow Mike’s argument that:

1. Apple retains a large portion of revenue from in-app purchases
2. HTML5 allows you to bypass in-app purchases
3. HTML5 might be detrimental to Apple’s bottom line

Of course, since Xerox invented HTML5, the internet, smartphones, multi-touch technology, and everything else (apparently?) perhaps this is Apple’s just reward!

David Liu (profile) says:

Re: Re: More Cornell reasoning...

Whoosh. His first statement was sarcastic.

And secondly, your argument is faulty. HTML always allowed vendors to bypass the store. Your narrow-minded thinking is just as reasonable as thinking that “piracy = bad”, when as a reader of this site, you should know by HEART that piracy does not necessarily mean bad, just like HTML does not necessarily mean bad for Apple.

And just like Biff said, since Apple has been pushing for web apps from the start alongside native apps (iPhone 1st gen was only purely web apps, and you can create apps on your home screen that go straight to a webpage without the safari overlay), you can definitely be sure that Apple has understood the concept that HTML as a side partner to native apps can be a good thing as a whole for the iPhone ecosystem, and thus therefore good for Apple as a whole. Chasing after in-app revenues would be like chasing after pennies while losing the dollars.

ChurchHatesTucker (profile) says:

Re: Re: More Cornell reasoning...

Apple was pushing HTML5 as an alternative to Flash, not native apps.

Both, actually. The app store only exists because devs insisted that HTML5 wasn’t ready. They even had to put Snow Leopard (the Mac OS upgrade) on hold while they reworked iOS to even be able to use native apps. Part of the reason the app store is so draconian is that they didn’t think native apps should be there in the first place.

John Doe says:

I called it...

When Apple was having their hissy fit over Adobe Flash and said everyone should use HTML 5, I said right there that Apple was shooting themselves in the foot. How can someone like Steve Jobs be so smart and yet so stupid? He should have seen by doing this he was going to lose the app market.

I for one am thankful to see HTML 5 start taking off. Now we can do away with all the phone specific apps, or most of them, and have HTML 5 apps. Developers should like it as well because now they can write one app and run on every smartphone.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

If you think apple’s 30% fee is ridiculous, that’s also what Amazon fee’s others for digital content it sells.

A 30% fee on apps they sell isn’t ridiculous at all.

What’s ridiculous is that they also demand a 30% fee on all products sold through the app, that their app-store has nothing to do with. For instance, if you sell an e-book reader and allow customers to purchase books, you have to pay 30% of those sales to Apple. That is nuts, and that is Amazon is routing around.

David Liu (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Through their in-app purchasing system. At that point, they act as a publisher and credit-card system all in one. Otherwise, you force the user to go out of the app into some outside webstore where they’d have to get out their credit card and enter some other information.

If you’ve done or read any sort of studies on this, you’d know that getting users to do ANYTHING is hard enough. Making them do more stuff to do something like buying a product is next to impossible.

30% for a boost in customer willingness isn’t all that bad.

Khyle says:

Misses the Mark

Apple has been very successful largely based on the fact that their UI experience is the best experiences for users. Apple added the “Add to home screen” in mobile safari – specifically to allow these types of applications.

I see Apple saying here – if you want your users to have the best experience, if you want the exposure and distribution of the App Store, AND you want to sell out of that experience, you have to cut us in. But hey, if that doesn’t matter, then go about your business, and here is this other alternative.

Some say that the HTML5 apps are as good as iOS apps. That is wrong, and also ignores the fact that the app store is free distribution and advertising. More people will get that app than will add the HTML5 app.

This isn’t open vs. closed. This is paying for distribution and a premium user experience. It’s a fairly simple business proposition.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Marcel, it is exactly the same thing: There is a blockage, something that stops “progress”, and remarkably, there is still progress.

Amazon could easily have sat and looked at the section of fence that was stopping them, and sadly waiting for someone else to take it down. Instead, they looked around, noted that the fence was only one section long, and went around it.

So now either you can route around trouble, or you cannot not. If Mike suggesting that Amazon is somehow smarter than all those network programmers?

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Re: Re:

That’s actually a really silly argument. If this was a patent issue (or like a patent issue), it would be worded so broadly that Amazon would still be in violation.

Remember, patents aren’t about the path one takes from point A to point B any more. They’re just about getting from point A to B. It doesn’t matter what path you take, your still in violation for making the trip.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Incorrect – that applies in a very narrow few patents that are issued, not all of them. Mike highlights a few dozen out of the 7+ million patents issued. Most patents are very, very narrow in scope, and don’t go much beyond it.

When it comes to misrepresenting the situation, Mike has done a masterful job. More importantly, he has staked out a position that cannot easily be taken apart, because it required “negative proof”, which is pretty hard to create. My hat’s off to him, even reasonably smart people here have fallen for it.

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

You’re the one misrepresenting the situation by comparing it to legalized monopolies. This isn’t a patent issue, claiming it is just makes a joke out of the current patent system problems we have (I know that was your point, but you’re still wrong for making it).

And Amazon isn’t innovating anything. The app was newer technology then the HTML5 version. The HTML5 version is taking a step backwards.

Your argument is just wrong from every single direction.

Marcel de Jong (profile) says:

Actually, wasn’t the app-marketplace supposed to work like this? Originally, all apps were supposed to be web-apps, to which shortcut links could be added on the ‘desktop’ of the phone.
It wasn’t until later, when the world demanded a marketplace of sorts that Apple relented and devised the now hated marketplace processes.

But I could be wrong on that.

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