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Looks like there’s trouble a-brewing in the cosy iOS ecosystem. Amazon has just rewritten its Kindle app as an HTML 5 ‘web app’ in order to circumvent the restrictions of the App Store – not to mention the 30 per cent cut that Apple skims off the top of every sale. It's not the first to do so either. The Financial Times has …


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  1. jai

    and for non-amazon bought books?

    Can i load it with kindle format ebooks that i've aquired from alternate sources other than amazon?

    Because of all the people i know with a kindle, only one or two have bought the majority of their books from amazon, the rest have downloaded a torrent of 1000 fiction books and are slowly working their way through them

    1. Sooty

      if it doesn't already

      You will probably get allocated a small amount of space to upload your own books to, before too long.

  2. Paolo 1

    Break free?

    Have we already forgotten that Mr Jobs never wanted native apps when iOS launched and said HTML5 apps were the future?

    Of course the power and money of a native app eco-system soon put that idea out to pasture, but still...

    1. D@v3
      Thumb Up

      Thank you.

      People seem all to eager to forget that at first there was no App Store, and that the 'future' was web apps.

      Companies such as Amazon and FT are just doing what Jobs wanted in the first place.

      1. Arctic fox

        @D@v3 "Companies such as Amazon and FT are just doing what Jobs wanted in the first place."

        You mean that companies like Amazon *not* giving Apple 30% of their action was all part of Mr Job's master plan? Hmm, truly it is written that Lord Steve moves in mysterious ways His wonders to perform.

  3. DrXym Silver badge

    Just wait

    In the next iOS update Apple will impose a limit on the amount of local storage HTML based apps can use, and how large the HTML, JS and auxillary files can be. And coincidentally these limits will cut the legs off webapps that circumvent their app store.

  4. Eponymous Cowherd

    The more you tighten your grip, Jobs.....

    , the more apps will slip through your fingers.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    Bonus marks for the book called "You've Gone Too Far This Time, Sir!" in the list of books, very apt.

  6. Tegne
    Black Helicopters

    And how long before Apple change their terms or 'break' this app?

    They won't take this deliberate attempt to deny Apple's take of 30% for doing nothing lying down.

    1. Arctic fox

      @Tegne I do not think that Cupertino would that arogant and stupid.

      The Kindle app is probably one of the most well known and popular apps on the face of the smartphone planet. If Apple were to break the app even when it is no longer being used for in-app payments I think even the most devoted iPhan might get rather upset. I am not saying that the cult's priest-caste are incapable of error but I think that even they would think twice before, in practice, banning the Kindle as an e-book *reader* app from the iPhone.

  7. Andrew Hodgkinson

    El Reg has a short memory

    The original iPhone had no native SDK. Apple said you could do all you wanted in HTML. A native SDK came later and required iOS 2.0.

    That's why Safari has the "Save to Home screen" option. It wouldn't be there if Apple wanted web applications to be discouraged. People have long been writing both HTML and native apps; there's even a web apps "store" on Apple's own site.

    "Trouble a-brewing in the cosy iOS ecosystem"? Trouble a-brewing for journalistic relevance and integrity perhaps... With hundreds of thousands of apps on the store, a few publisher's applications moving to HTML only presentation will make little difference to the profitability of iOS.

    1. fandom

      Only the reg?

      And, obviously, Apple wanting 30% of kindle books sales through the app had nothing whatsoever to do Amazon moving it to HTML, right?

      Or was it just a nudge from Apple so that developers would finally start developing they way they should? Because, you know, they love their users.

      1. Andrew Hodgkinson

        Re: Only the reg?

        What's that got to do with "the iOS ecosystem"? It was doing just fine before Apple decided to insist on in-app subscriptions and ask for 30% of the pie... But the article isn't about this. It is trying to say that HTML applications threaten the iOS App Store model for certain application genres. I was just pointing out that this is nothing new, indeed, it was the *only* way to develop on iPhone OS 1.

        Meanwhile, Apple revised their subscriptions policy a while ago in response to complaints. Publishers can charge whatever they want, on or off the store, so subscription-based application developers aren't (are no longer) being driven away from the App Store by the 30% 'burden'. The following article is from a very pro-Apple site but has lots of links to other sources so you can verify this for yourself:

        Incidentally, on the whole short memory thing - Amazon used to charge publishers a whopping 70% to publish through Kindle Store! They revised this to 30% at the end of 2010, though bloggers are still charged 70%. See "Terms & Conditions" in:

        Grim reading. So when it comes to Amazon complaining about Apple's subscription charges, frankly, cry me a river and then remind me who's supposed to be being unreasonably expensive, again?

  8. AndyM

    HTML5 Angry Birds next??

    Is this the swansong for iOS?

    next up all the current native apps in iOS could be recreated in HTML5 version's. And that lovely 30% cut that apple takes disappears.

    1. Andrew Hodgkinson

      Even this article's *comments* are off-the-pulse...! ;-)

      This has been around since May:

  9. Anonymous Coward


    So apple are getting their way.... so many folk have commented that Apple always wanted to go HTML5 rather than apps, and yet there are people here thinking its all just a ploy to make more money. Hell yeah it makes more money, and they get what they want.... there is a word for that! Genius!

    As for pirate books on your kindle, and knowing no one who has bought the majority of their books.... I'm one of those people, I like to read, so why steal e-books, your just killing the book writing market.

  10. nsld

    I did predict

    Way back when Apple introduced the 30% on subscriptions and locking to in app only purchases that the web app market will grow.

    Greed has got the better of Mr Jobs on this one, in the early days he needed apps to support the eco system but as soon as the rape and pillage started they have upped sticks and moved to web apps.

    What this also means is cross platform development is easier as well so its a win for app suppliers and a win for content distributors.

    It also means that the itunes store can now be circumvented for all purchases including music and it wont be long before music store web apps appear to compete.

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