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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  •  
    identicon
    Pixelation, Aug 11th, 2011 @ 10:13pm

    "And maybe, just maybe, it'll convince Apple to be just a smidge more open."

    That made me laugh. Mike, you missed your calling as a comedian.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    A Guy, Aug 11th, 2011 @ 11:37pm

    I think you give Apple too much credit.

    The more likely scenario is it will convince Apple to reconsider HTML 5 compatibility standards in their Safari browser if it starts eating into the bottom line.

     

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    G Thompson (profile), Aug 11th, 2011 @ 11:41pm

    Steve Jobs and Apple Inc used to have Open minds, then their brains kept falling out so they closed them..

     

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      identicon
      Donnicton, Aug 12th, 2011 @ 4:31am

      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.

      It's easy to forget where you come from when money is involved.

       

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        Hephaestus (profile), Aug 12th, 2011 @ 8:56pm

        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.

         

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    •  
      identicon
      Biff K, Aug 12th, 2011 @ 4:50pm

      Re:

      Btw, what was your point here? That only brainless people are for Open Source? Or was this just some creative typing trying for a first post?

      If you really have a law degree (as you've said), either it's worthless or you're posting with both hemispheres tied behind your back.

       

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        G Thompson (profile), Aug 13th, 2011 @ 9:59pm

        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. ;)

         

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    identicon
    silvo, Aug 11th, 2011 @ 11:57pm

    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! :D

     

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    Biff K, Aug 12th, 2011 @ 12:11am

    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...

     

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      G Thompson (profile), Aug 12th, 2011 @ 12:20am

      Re: More Cornell reasoning...

      For someone who seems to think everyone here is just delusional you sure do like to argue, complain, whine, and type a lot.

      Solipsistic much?

       

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        Biff K, Aug 12th, 2011 @ 12:32am

        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.)

         

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          Jay (profile), Aug 12th, 2011 @ 12:42am

          Re: Re: Re: More Cornell reasoning...

          " I was addressing Masnick and his hardon for Apple"

          When the hell did Mike have a hard on for apples? I know people need to eat healthier nowadays, but it's getting kind of ridiculous that you know his entire diet...

           

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Aug 12th, 2011 @ 2:46am

      Re: More Cornell reasoning...

      Simple question:

      How do you steal an idea?

       

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    •  
      identicon
      Oliver, Aug 12th, 2011 @ 4:37am

      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!

       

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        David Liu (profile), Aug 12th, 2011 @ 2:22pm

        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.

         

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      •  
        identicon
        Biff K, Aug 12th, 2011 @ 4:54pm

        Re: Re: More Cornell reasoning...

        Thanks for reading, even if you saw my anti-Apple-troll post as its opposite. Better luck next time!

         

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Aug 12th, 2011 @ 6:39am

      Re: More Cornell reasoning...

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

       

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        ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Aug 12th, 2011 @ 7:13am

        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.

         

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 12th, 2011 @ 2:18am

    "(and many "native" apps were really created in HTML 5 in the first place anyway."

    Obligatory XKCD:

    http://xkcd.com/859/

    (yes, it's a typo nitpick softened up by a XKCD reference...so sue me)

     

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    identicon
    John Doe, Aug 12th, 2011 @ 4:04am

    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.

     

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      identicon
      Jane Doe, Aug 12th, 2011 @ 6:40pm

      Re: I called it...

      Yep, the future likes of Angry Birds, Soundcloud and Instapaper are sure to be rolling in cash from the paywall they'll be adding to their HTML 5 web app. Paywalls work!

      Whoever you are, I'm filing for divorce.

       

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    milrtime83 (profile), Aug 12th, 2011 @ 4:07am

    "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. "

    They didn't release this instead of using the app store. It is an alternate app. They already have a Kindle app in the app store.

     

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    identicon
    Nick, Aug 12th, 2011 @ 5:46am

    HTML5

    Either way,

    Has Apple kick-started the HTML5 revolution it wanted by imposing a riculously high fee?

    I'd be tempted to think that SJ is a genius and this was the plan all along were it not for the fact that Apple will lose the ability to censor its devices contents. (Thankfully)

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 12th, 2011 @ 6:09am

    If you think apple's 30% fee is ridiculous, that's also what Amazon fee's others for digital content it sells. Might want to get your facts straight mikey before you start praising Amazon.

     

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      Vincent Clement (profile), Aug 12th, 2011 @ 7:20am

      Re:

      The referral fee for music in the Amazon Marketplace is 15%. Amazon changes a $0.80 closing fee for music.

       

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Aug 12th, 2011 @ 9:26am

      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.

       

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        David Liu (profile), Aug 12th, 2011 @ 2:28pm

        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.

         

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  •  
    identicon
    Khyle, Aug 12th, 2011 @ 6:24am

    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.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 12th, 2011 @ 6:58am

    So wait Mike, you are saying that *GASP* people can work around patents and poor standards?

    Perhaps you could use the same logic on this story:

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110811/10245715476/what-if-tim-berners-lee-had-patented -web.shtml

    and figure out where you appear to once again be flip flopping around.

     

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      Marcel de Jong (profile), Aug 12th, 2011 @ 7:04am

      Re:

      You misread this on purpose, didn't you?

      Going around a market app is not the same as going around patents.

      One is just using the open web to get your content out there and use the web as it is intended. And the other is just illegal in the eyes of many patent holders.

       

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      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Aug 12th, 2011 @ 7:18am

        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?

         

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      Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Aug 12th, 2011 @ 7:37am

      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.

       

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Aug 12th, 2011 @ 8:23am

        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.

         

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          Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Aug 12th, 2011 @ 10:04am

          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.

           

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          identicon
          Nicedoggy, Aug 12th, 2011 @ 11:00am

          Re: Re: Re:

          If it was easy to bypass patents why bother taking them out in the first place?

          Patents are supposed to block others from being able to find ways to not pay you, if that doesn't happen what is the value of a patent?

           

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    Marcel de Jong (profile), Aug 12th, 2011 @ 7:06am

    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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    identicon
    alex, Sep 17th, 2011 @ 3:44am

    Thanks for this post.. Usefull one.. i found another one where you will find everything about html5,templates,apps and more. All in one place > hope this will help you all.

    http://html5arena.blogspot.com/

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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