Could Amazon capitalise on anger with Apple?
Talking point: Apple’s high-handedness over iPad subscription fees could prove a boon for Amazon’s new tablet
Is the Financial Times leading a publishers' revolt against Apple and its App Store, asks John Naughton in the Observer? Not long ago, newspapers and magazines saw the iPad as their saviour, forcing "freeloaders to pay real money for the privilege of accessing [content]".
Apple took a 30 per cent cut of all subscriptions sold through its App Store and got the customer data, but publishers were prepared to accept such unequal terms, because it was better than giving away their content free on the internet.
But earlier this year, Apple banned the sale of subscriptions on the iPad from any platform other than its App Store. "To call this high-handed is like saying that Hitler lacked tact," writes Naughton. "But it is the Apple Way. It has, however, led to a lot of muttering and plotting in certain corporate circles."
For the FT, it meant total withdrawal of its iPad and iPhone apps from the App Store. The company has instead set up a web-based app that works in an internet browser – very much like the original website.
This makes "some sense", according to Tim Worstall in Forbes, who explains the FT will now be able to create one 'app' that will work on all tablets, including the iPad and Android devices.
"The FT's leaving [the App Store] might be evidence that Apple is being too greedy, trying to get too large a cut of the action," Worstall concludes.
Enter the Amazon tablet. TechCrunch's MG Siegler has been given a preview of this much-anticipated device. What it looks like isn't really important (it's similar to a BlackBerry PlayBook, if you're interested).
"The key for Amazon," writes Siegler, "is just how deeply integrated all of their services are. Amazon's content store is always just one click away. The book reader is a Kindle app. The music player is Amazon's Cloud Player. The movie player is Amazon's Instant Video player. The app store is Amazon's Android Appstore.
"It appears that Amazon is creating a device much like Apple's iPad, with three key differences; size, price and, most importantly, content provider."
As Jack Schofield writes on ZDNet UK, "another potential benefit is that Amazon could capitalise on widespread disaffection with Apple's 30 per cent tax".
He points out that "many other companies" are considering following the FT's example and Amazon could offer them an "alternative route to market".
But Amazon should watch out, too: "Facebook is also developing an alternative to Apple under the codename Project Spartan." ·
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