Amazon dodges iPad rules with a web-based Kindle reader

image captionUsers can purchase books directly from Amazon

Amazon has launched a browser-based version of its Kindle eBook application called the Kindle Cloud Reader.

The software is optimised for iPad tablets, but directs customers to Amazon's own eBook store instead of using Apple's purchasing system.

This avoids the 30 percent charge on in-app purchases levied by Apple.

The launch follows recent changes to Apple's terms that forced Amazon and others to remove direct purchasing links in their native iPad programs.

Kindle Cloud Reader can run on PCs, Macs and mobile devices using the Apple Safari or Google Chrome web browser.

The application is not regarded as a 'native' program because it runs in a web page, and therefore isn't subject to Apple restrictions.

However, using the latest HTML5 web technology, Cloud Reader looks like a native app - and even saves books onto the user's device for reading offline.

A button on the web page takes users to Amazon's Kindle Store where they can purchase new items.

Revenue share

Apple received criticism this year when it announced new rules for the purchasing of products from applications running on its devices. It prohibited links and buttons that allowed a company to sell goods outside of its own sales system.

Apple currently takes a 30% share of content sold through its iPad and iPhone apps. The rules suggested that the California computer giant could extract this fee for every book sold through Kindle's iPad app.

Amazon, the Wall Street Journal, and others removed their in-app links to comply with the new conditions. However, last month the Financial Times announced the launch of an HTML5 newspaper app for mobile devices.

Stephen Pinches, the FT group product manager of emerging Technologies, told the BBC he was optimistic about the future of web apps: "We believe that in many cases, native apps are simply a bridging solution while web technologies catch up.

"We expect to see more HTML5 apps and fewer native apps."

Amazon's latest move suggests that more companies may seek a web-based app solution that avoids restrictions placed on their sales policies by a single tablet maker.

"At the FT we believe our customers are paying for the content rather than the channel, and that a single payment and single subscription which works across multiple devices offers significant benefits to users," said Mr Pinches.

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