Amazon and Wal-Mart Skirt Apple with New Sites

by Jordan Richardson on August 11, 2011

On Wednesday, Wal-Mart and Amazon revealed new book-reading and video services that, while being designed for the iPad, circumvent Apple’s fees on content sales.

In the case of Wal-Mart, the retail giant took its Vudu video streaming service to the iPad’s browser. Amazon introduced the Kindle Cloud e-Reader for e-books.

The game for Apple is to make companies sell content through its iTunes system, so they forced Amazon’s Kindle iPad app to drop the button that sent customers and users to Amazon’s website. Apple takes a 30 percent cut when things go through the iTunes store, so you can imagine that the system’s working for them.

It turns out that a lot of companies are less than thrilled with Apple taking their 30 percent. The avoidance tactic of steering clear from apps that must pass through the App Store is becoming par for the course, with media outlets like The Financial Times creating a website for its readers to avoid the fees from the Cupertino company.

In the case of Vudu, the site relies on streaming video and works with most PC browsers. The Flash technology it uses is a no-go on the iPad, so the site uses “Live Streaming” tools from Apple to function for iPad users. Vudu runs a similar game to iTunes in that it rents movies for a 24-hour or 48-hour viewing period. Flicks typically cost $1 to $6 to rent, depending on variables. Customers can buy movies for around $5 each.

The Kindle, meanwhile, is a type of Web app that functions an awful lot like a regular app. The difference is the process that users have to take to install the thing on their iPad devices, but once the deed is done they can read books without needing to connect to the Internet.

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