Amazon Adds Apps to Kindle, Takes Shot at Apple | Cult of Mac

Amazon Adds Apps to Kindle, Takes Shot at Apple



Until now, Amazon has stood largely unchallenged in the e-publishing arena – some put its dominance at 80 percent of e-book sales and 70 percent of e-book readers. Now, in a bid to counteract a hurricane of hype surrounding Apple’s as-yet unseen tablet device, the giant online bookseller is making some last-minute changes to the Kindle, it’s e-book reader. Amazon Thursday announced it will open its device to software developers, a concession to Apple’s popular App Store.

However, Amazon isn’t uttering the word “app” in describing its move to open the doors to software programming. Instead, “active content” is the label the company uses to define anything from calculators to video games for its e-book platform.

Although the book seller will release guidelines for programmers building the new content, the program could be limited by the Kindle’s current black-and-white screen. One bit of news from Amazon will likely quickly register with those intrigued by the change: 70 percent of money from the sales goes to the programmers, not the Internet company.

“We wanted to open this up to a wide range of creative people, from developers to publishers to authors, to build whatever they like,” Ian Freed, an Amazon vice president for the Kindle, told the New York Times.

Thursday’s announcement was just the latest from Amazon as it attempts to recapture that e-book mindshare hijacked by Apple. Wednesday, Amazon upped the royalty it pays publishers who sell their e-books exclusively for the Kindle. The new deal would put 70 percent of the e-book’s selling price in the pocket of publishers. As we reported earlier this week, some publishing houses are holding back releasing the e-book versions of their bestsellers, concerned that readers of printed books may be influenced by Amazon’s demand of a $9.99 price limit for e-books.

[Via New York Times and Silicon Alley Insider]