Saturday, August 13, 2011

Apple Reminds Me that Its Motto is not "Don't be Evil"

Here's Apple again with another one of those annoyances that really doesn't gain them much of anything but certainly annoys people like me. Here's the deal: a couple of months back, just after I got my Iphone, I downloaded the Kindle reader app, idly and not expecting much.  To my stunned surprise, I fell  in love with it.  I do most of my Kindle reading now on the Iphone--so much so that I've basically ceded the real Kindle over to Mrs. B.  I also found that Amazon could just suck money out of me because I could order and take delivery right from the Kindle app screen.

A few days that "order"  function just disappeared, zap.  Or if anybody told me, I sure missed it.  I figured it might be a software glitch so I did the standard computer evasion of killing it out and reinstalling.  No change, nada, zip.  Idly again, I fired off an email to Amazon to tell them I missed the ordering app and, not incidentally, that it would probably cost them money.

They must have been waiting for me to call.  In less time than it takes to tell, Amazon fired back an answer saying sorry, the app is no longer available "In order to comply with recent policy changes by Apple." So, apparently Jeff wants me to understand that he's  not taking for Steve's grabiness.  But then in  the same email, Amazon tells me how to configure the same feature via Safari--with the facility, of course, to put a link on my home page.

Long story short, in a few more minutes, I have essentially the link installed on my home screen and by george they are right, it does just what the original Kindle app used to do. I cannot possibly imagine what advantage Apple gains by insisting on this workaround (and then not telling me about it)--unless their business plan shows them gaining utils by annoying the customer.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You’ve discovered that an iPhone or iPad makes a great ebook reader – so good that you’ve put your Kindle aside, right?

But Steve Jobs wants to go further than that. He wants your iPhone or iPad to be a great web browser – so good that you will put your PC aside.

Steve faces one primary obstacle: complex websites commonly use Adobe Flash, which tends to run poorly on mobile devices (e.g. google “Flash performance on Android”). So Steve simply wants everyone, across the WWW, to replace Flash with HTML5. This seemed like an insane idea when he suggested it last year.

But he persisted. Now, Apple offers web developers both a carrot and a stick. The carrot: “use HTML5 and we won’t take a 30% cut of your iOS sales”. The stick: “use Flash and no iOS user will view your site”.

The big web players (like Amazon) are currently weighing those options -- and are starting to respond in exactly the way that Apple wants. Amazon has developed a fantastic HTML5 Kindle app that works like a charm on an iPhone or iPad. Wal-Mart has just done the same thing with VUDU. The Financial Times has just done the same thing. They won’t be the last.

Over the next year, you may start to notice that lots of complicated interactive websites render beautifully on your iPhone – just as Amazon’s Kindle web app does. So you will do more and more browsing on your iPhone, and less and less on your PC. You will become increasingly hooked on your iPhone; you will want the iPhone 5, and maybe an iPad as well. That’s the advantage to Apple.

The only downside for Apple is that vendors who move to HTML5 web apps can bypass the iTunes store and forego the 30% revenue cut to Apple. But iTunes profits are insignificant for Apple anyway – they run the iTunes store on a break-even basis. It only exists to help drive the sales of Apple hardware, which is where the real profits are.