If they didn’t, they would have to fork over a 30% cut of all their e-book sales to Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL).
We also mentioned how frustrated publishers are discovering that there’s a way to bypass Apple’s rigid App Store policy: HTML5.
Recall, HTML5 is a coding language that allows companies to develop applications that can run online. So there’s no need for users to download the apps from Apple’s App Store at all.
But why bring this up again?
Well, because two retail giants have recently jumped on the HTML5 bandwagon.
And if their new applications prove as successful as they appear, this could trigger an avalanche of App Store deserters in the coming months.
Let me explain…
Amazon’s Kindle Floats Past Apple in the Cloud
Last week, Amazon released a web-based version of its e-reader app called Kindle Cloud Reader.
Because it’s based on HTML5, the app allows you to read Kindle books on any device that’s connected to Safari or Chrome. No App Store required.
And by severing the tie with Apple, Amazon can once again link directly to its external bookstore within the app without giving up a 30% slice of profits.
Although it works almost exactly like the native app, there are a few drawbacks in the new version. For instance, you can’t highlight text, add notes, or use the dictionary feature.
But once Amazon gets all the initial kinks and glitches worked out – and gets the word out to consumers that there’s a more convenient alternative in the wild – this should become the go-to iPad app for Kindle users.
And we’re not the only ones who think so.
As ReadWriteWeb puts it, now that the Cloud Reader is out, “Apple’s 30% toll may turn out to be a huge mistake, because it looks like it underestimated just how sophisticated HTML5 sites can be… It’s a matter of months, not years, before Amazon pulls its iOS Kindle app from the App Store.”
It’s not just Amazon cleverly working around the Apple ecosystem, though. Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) just sent the company a message, too.
It’s skipping the App Store altogether.
Wal-Mart Falls Far From the Apple Tree
You see, the 30% cut Apple takes isn’t just limited to the e-book or newspaper publishers. It applies to all subscription-based services.
That’s why Wal-Mart decided to use HTML5 to build the app for its new on-demand video service, VUDU. And it doesn’t look like Wal-Mart plans to release an App Store alternative at all.
As VUDU’s dedicated iPad page says, “The VUDU Web site has been optimized for your iPad. Simply open the Safari browser on your iPad and navigate to www.vudu.com. There’s no need to install an App.”
If that doesn’t sound like a direct attack against Apple then this snarky comment VUDU’s General Manager gave to the San Francisco Chronicle certainly should:
“Apple said from the get-go that we want the iPad to be the best web browsing experience anywhere, and we take them at their word.”
But what does this trend mean for Apple going forward?
Beware of the HTML5 “Sledgehammer”
The message Amazon and Wal-Mart are sending to Apple is clear: It’s time to loosen your iron App Store grip. Or else.
Because once these HTML5 pioneers work out the kinks, it’s only a matter of time before other developers follow suit.
ReadWriteWeb says it best: “Should Apple be concerned? You bet. It’s going to end up being a very large hole in its wall, caused by companies wielding HTML5 sledgehammers.”
And you can bet Apple’s keeping a close eye on that hole, since it looks like it’s only going to get bigger in the coming months.