Although Amazon’s Kindle platform seemed to stumble a bit in the wake of the iPad’s debut, mostly from surprise, they’ve since rallied and continued to increase their lead as the biggest e-bookstore on Earth. In fact, according to Amazon’s own metrics, they now sell more Kindle e-books than they do paperbacks.
How’d Amazon compete with iBooks? Ubiquity: Kindle software is available on almost every modern OS out there, and a Kindle book purchased on one can be read on another. Amazon managed to achieve this feat by cutting middlemen out of the transaction entirely: if you purchase a book in-app, you simply are directed to an Amazon webpage. It’s all done on the Internet.
If a new report coming from The New York Times is anything to go by, though, Apple may be ready to strike Kindle on iOS down for the count unless it agrees to utilize iTunes’ own in-app purchase system, though.
In fact, Sony’s Reader app — which handles transactions similarly to the way Amazon’s Kindle app does — has already been struck down, and Sony says that it’s because Apple has decided that apps can no longer either sell content or allow access to content if it does not use iTunes’ in-app purchasing mechanism.
The move comes even as reports mount that the iPad 2’s hardware will make it a better e-reader than the first generation thanks to the adoption of Kindle-like anti-glare technology and a better display allowing text to be read more easily on the screen.
Is it true? Short of an official statement from Apple, time will tell, but certainly such a move would make it extremely difficult for the likes of Kindle to continue operating on the app store. Color me skeptical, though: it seems like Apple would have an anti-trust lawsuit on its hands if it tried to prevent a company like Amazon from redirecting customers of Kindle books to a webpage if they want to buy a new one.
This is worth keeping an eye on, but right now, I’m more inclined to believe it’s a misinterpretation on Sony’s part, at least until Apple says otherwise.
[image, via TUAW]