The Jeff Bezos-Steve Jobs feud is heating up. In late July, Apple removed the "buy" button from the Kindle app for iPads and iPhones. The button had redirected users to a website where they could make Kindle purchases outside of Apple's control, and without Amazon having to share 30 percent of its revenue with Apple. On Wednesday, Amazon jabbed back at Apple with the release of the new Kindle Cloud Reader, a web-based app that allows iPad users to purchase and read Kindle e-books in their Safari or Chrome browser — outside of Apple's tight control. Will web-based apps like this one, and Walmart's Vudu, which was also released Wednesday, spell the end of Apple's App Store dominance?
This is a big challenge to Apple: This will "be remembered as a turning point for Apple, when... the beginnings of a developer revolt broke iOS mobile apps dominance," says Joe Wilcox at BetaNews. Apple's success with the iPhone and iPad is largely due to the tech giant's app monopoly. Now, web-based apps like Amazon's offer consumers and developers an alternative to the App Store and Apple's controlling, 30-percent-commission grabbing ways. It's a welcome "F you" to Apple, and I'm eager to use more of these industry-changing, web-based apps.
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But smaller companies might not embrace web-based apps : Sure, web-based apps keep more money in companies' pockets, says Daniel Ionescu at PC World. And it's easier for developers to design web-based apps across multiple platforms, rather than having to tailor them so specifically to the iPad. But there are some advantages to working with Apple, too. "Not sharing any revenue with Apple can deprive developers of the exposure of the App Store and its easy-to-use payment process," which is important for smaller companies.
"Amazon Kindle Cloud Reader joins uprising against Apple App Store"
Web apps won't kill the App Store — they'll supplement it: For the foreseeable future, both kinds of apps will co-exist, says analyst Al Hilwa, as quoted by Britain's Financial Times. For simpler apps, like the Kindle eReader, a web-based app will do just fine. But the native apps that live in Apple's store will retain a more impressive look and feel. And remember, there are plenty of app users who prefer Apple's "walled garden" to the "wide-open web."
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