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Are Amazon and Apple playing chicken regarding in-app purchasing?

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Are Amazon and Apple playing chicken regarding in-app purchasing?

· Mobile Zone ·
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Marco Arment speculates that Apple and Amazon might be locked in a power play regarding Apple’s in-app purchase requirement. Currently, Amazon is still not adhering to this requirement (whose deadline is June 30th, 2011).

A lot of people use the Kindle iOS app. Imagine if Apple pulls it from the App Store, and Amazon inconveniently launches a $199 iPad alternative that includes it and more.

In the long run, it would probably be great for Apple: iBooks would become the only widely used commercial-ebook reader on the platform, and iOS devices have such a massive installed base that being the exclusive vendor would give Apple a huge advantage when negotiating with publishers to be in the iBookstore. Amazon knows this.

But it would cause a pretty big short-term headache for Apple that, if there’s a new and very inexpensive tablet alternative from Amazon, could pose a credible (although almost certainly not fatal) threat to the iPad’s marketshare. And Apple knows this.

I suspect the Kindle app will continue being mysteriously and indefinitely exempted from the in-app-purchase rules.

It is a curious situation:
  • Not being locked into a single hardware platform is a big selling point for Kindle content. If it wasn’t available on iOS, it would decrease its appeal.
  • On the other hand, as soon as you own Kindle content, you depend on your device supporting it. And iOS would be less attractive to you without the Kindle app.
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