Yesterday, it was Wal-mart's Vudu service that was bypassing the Apple App Store to enable rental and download distribution on the iPad. Apple's 30% fee for revenue gained through an app has led others to find end around approaches as well. Amazon's Kindle reader can now buy from the web and read books on an iPad. "This new web application is Amazon's way of deftly getting around Apple's restrictions on in-app purchases without giving Apple a piece of the action. Rather than pay Apple their cut, Amazon pulled the iOS Kindle app's in-app link to the Amazon Kindle store. You could still buy Kindle books, but you would have to surf to the Amazon Web site in a browser to actually buy them and send them to you device."
Did Apple shoot itself in the foot with its high fee? It seems when individuals and companies feel threatened, they often find ways to build a better mouse trap to get around the problem. For Amazon, Wal-mart, and others, an easy web approach can work, especially if purchasing can occur with few clicks. The Apple App Store is keen on that, but a website approach, done well, could be just as satisfying for the end consumer.
As the article notes, this innovation now takes the conversation away from apps and back to web browsers. "As adoption of HTML5 matures, I'm sure there will be far fewer drastic differences between browsers as all of their implementation reach a stable plateau. Still, there's always a way to do things "better"--how long will it be until browsers start breaking away with their own extensions, just like the HTML add-ons that plagued users during the first browser war?" A fascinating next step.