In the latest chapter of Amazon vs. Apple–which is increasingly starting to resemble a popularity contest between the two prettiest girls in school–two separate stories broke today: both are good for Amazon and both are very bad for Apple.
The first story is Amazon’s announcement of its Kindle Cloud Reader, an HTML5 reader that bypasses Apple’s iOS guidelines prohibiting the use of links–and their 30% cut on all sales. The Cloud Reader allows users to purchase and access Kindle titles through their browsers rather than through apps, and gives Amazon the ability to set up a Kindle storefront through an iPad’s browser without having to pay Apple a cent for purchases.
The second story, which is a loss for Apple (and thus a gain for Amazon), is the class action lawsuit filed today in California claiming that Apple colluded with Hachette, Penguin, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins and Macmillan to fix prices on e-books. The suit alleges that this all happened back in early 2010, as Apple was readying the iPad for the digital books marketplace, and neither the publishers nor Apple were willing to accept the low margins Amazon’s $9.99 e-book pricing was forcing on them.
“Fortunately for the publishers, they had a co-conspirator as terrified as they were over Amazon’s popularity and pricing structure, and that was Apple,” Steve Berman, an attorney representing consumers in the case, said in an e-mailed statement.
In one day, Apple has been thrown into the spotlight as a frightened player in the digital books market while a major hole has been punched in their iOS’s restrictive guidelines through circumnavigation. The impending iPhone 5 and iPad 3 announcement can’t get here soon enough.
But, at least for this week, we can safely chalk up a victory for Amazon.