Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Businesses Music Software The Almighty Buck Apple

Amazon Sidesteps App Store Business Model, Plays Back MP3s From Safari 114

Posted by timothy
from the cutting-out-the-apple-man dept.
Press2ToContinue writes "Amazon has found a simple way around Apple's tight-fisted App Store rules: give users a web app to buy MP3s that runs in Safari. This way, they have no need to pay 30% per tune to Apple. Freedom of choice of vendor in Apple-only territory? Is this a big breach of Apple's walled garden? I wonder if Apple with have a response to this."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Amazon Sidesteps App Store Business Model, Plays Back MP3s From Safari

Comments Filter:
  • Well... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    We'll see Apple changing the rules to ban it.

    There... that wasn't hard was it.

    • by jools33 (252092)

      So Apple are gonna ban streaming music through their own phones browser - that should make them popular...

      • by Jmc23 (2353706)
        About as popular as making people drive through the everglades to get to Queens.
    • Nonsense... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Kergan (780543) on Saturday January 19, 2013 @02:59PM (#42634611)

      Apple has been clear from the start on this: "Don't like the App store's policies? Make an html5 app!" In fact, it was the only way to build apps for the original iPhone -- with Apple's blessing, at that. (And it still is how unwelcome vendors, e.g. porn operators, build iOS apps.)

    • by Anonymous Coward

      anti-trust anyone?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Really? Why? Does Apple take a cut of every item sold on eBay, Wal-Mart's online store? Best Buy's online store?

      I don't think so. If Apple does try to ban this, they are on very shaky legal ground and will end up being sued, yet again.

      Apple wouldn't be that *STUPID* - oh wait, yes they are.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Apple Marketers with Moderator Points out in full force this fine Saturday afternoon.

  • by stevenh2 (1853442) on Saturday January 19, 2013 @09:28AM (#42633251)
    When the iPhone came out, there was no third-party native apps. People were expected to build web apps.
    • by BasilBrush (643681) on Saturday January 19, 2013 @11:03AM (#42633565)

      Indeed. The question of whether this is a breach of the walled garden is stupid.

      One might also note that people have been playing music from YouTube from the start. For free.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by mevets (322601)

        Did you notice who the submitter was?
        It would be notable if it was not stupid.

    • When the iPhone came out, there was no third-party native apps. People were expected to build web apps.

      On that release yes, but if you recall Jobs's story about how the web apps were the future, etc. that was all just blowing smoke because an SDK wasn't ready.

    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      When the iPhone came out, there was no third-party native apps. People were expected to build web apps.

      And Apple still expects people to do so - they could choose to make an app, or choose to do it as a web "app". The latter is completely free from Apple's app store policies - no 30%, no restrictions, no approvals, etc.

      Hell, Apple was one of the first promoters of HTML5 to do stuff - first as a Flash alternative, but also adding things like sensor support (accellerometer, compass, gyros, even GPS) so web ap

  • by irtza (893217) on Saturday January 19, 2013 @09:31AM (#42633257) Homepage

    I am sure amazon does not have the same contract as the small time developer and it will come down to licensing terms. They had to pull the link from within their old app before http://www.zdnet.com/blog/btl/amazon-others-cave-to-apple-on-in-app-purchases-today-html5-tomorrow/53116 [zdnet.com] so it was just a matter of time that they made it easy to purchase the apps on a phone conveniently. I don't see how this should even fall under terms of their license but I wouldn't be surprised if there weren't some broad reaching terms in the contract that apple will try to use as leverage.

  • No Breach (Score:5, Insightful)

    by timmyf2371 (586051) on Saturday January 19, 2013 @09:42AM (#42633287)
    A bit of a sensationalist summary, but this is absolutely not a breach of the walled garden; the App Store rules and guidelines only apply for apps which are published in the App Store.

    Web apps, due to their very nature, are not covered by these guidelines and I suspect Apple isn't bothered by this. It's no different than buying a Kindle book via a web page and then downloading & reading it within the Kindle app itself.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      i totally agree with you.

    • Re:No Breach (Score:4, Informative)

      by vakuona (788200) on Saturday January 19, 2013 @07:44PM (#42635949)

      Not only that. 7digital has an app that allows you to download all the songs that have been bought on their website, and so you can actually have them on the phone all the time, as opposed to streaming them.

      Much ado about nothing!

    • by whoop (194)

      The important thing to remember here, though, is ... it could! Duh-duh-dunnn, cue overly dramatic chipmunk.

  • Isn't the main purpose of the iTunes Music Store to sell iOS hardware? If I recall, doesn't most of the 30% of Apple's cut go into running the store?

    Apple is predominantly a hardware company, and they want people to buy their hardware. If the main purpose of their music/app stores is to sell the hardware then why would it matter where people actually get their music/apps from? Amazon is just giving people another reason to get an iOS device. They now have more options for their music purchases. Win/Win

    • by dakohli (1442929) on Saturday January 19, 2013 @10:46AM (#42633515)

      Isn't the main purpose of the iTunes Music Store to sell iOS hardware? If I recall, doesn't most of the 30% of Apple's cut go into running the store?

      Apple is predominantly a hardware company, and they want people to buy their hardware. If the main purpose of their music/app stores is to sell the hardware then why would it matter where people actually get their music/apps from? Amazon is just giving people another reason to get an iOS device. They now have more options for their music purchases. Win/Win.

      This may have been the case when it all started, but at some point, Apple realized the earning potential to monetize the entire experience. They provide the Hardware, and the mechanism to provide Apps, as well as provide the content. It is not in Apple's best interests to allow the user to acquire content through other sources. Period.

      ITunes is central to Apple's system of consumption. Through this one interface, users can get all the content they would ever need. It is the easiest way to get content onto your iPhone, or Ipod. It is fairly trivial to get videos and songs into Itunes without purchasing it through Apple although many Users will never really do it on a large scale because it involves a couple of extra steps.

      Apple can claim all day long that they are just a Hardware Company, but I haven't believed that for a long time.

      • by BasilBrush (643681) on Saturday January 19, 2013 @11:19AM (#42633649)

        This may have been the case when it all started, but at some point, Apple realized the earning potential to monetize the entire experience. They provide the Hardware, and the mechanism to provide Apps, as well as provide the content. It is not in Apple's best interests to allow the user to acquire content through other sources. Period.

        The problem with your belief is that there are no facts to back it up. We know that Apple make lots of profit on the hardware. But there's no evidence that they make very much profit from iTunes.

        Apple can claim all day long that they are just a Hardware Company, but I haven't believed that for a long time.

        It's not Apple that are claiming it. It's just the conclusion that most people who watch Apple closely have come to.

        • Check the annual report. We know that Apple took in 8b in net revenue (i.e. their take) last year – of 156b in sales. Not sure how much of that is profit but I would assume it higher than Apple’s 40% gross margin – so yeah – it is a considerable chunk of change.

          • "would assume it higher than Apple’s 40% gross margin – so yeah – it is a considerable chunk of change."
            It'a actually less. 10% for music, 30% for apps.
          • Check the annual report... Not sure....

            As I said. No evidence of profit on iTunes there.

            how much of that is profit but I would assume it higher than Appleâ(TM)s 40% gross margin â" so yeah â" it is a considerable chunk of change.

            Sounds like a very bad assumption. Certainly not one based on evidence.

        • by sootman (158191)

          The problem with your belief is that there are no facts to back it up. We know that Apple make lots of profit on the hardware. But there's no evidence that they make very much profit from iTunes.

          How about this? [businessinsider.com] The amount is so (relatively) tiny it's almost a rounding error.

  • by Archibald Buttle (536586) <steve_sims7@yahoo. c o .uk> on Saturday January 19, 2013 @09:48AM (#42633313)

    Apple will have no response to this, and nor should they.

    This is exactly the path that Apple have been telling companies they should follow if they wish to sell media outside of the iOS app store.

    Amazon are simply following Apple's own guidance.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Psyborgue (699890)
      Because they know what a hassle it is to do everything through your browser, especially on a mobile connection. How long do you think battery life is going to be for your average user streaming mp3s over 3g? They cannot download them or otherwise usefully cache them locally, unlike Google Music for Android, so I'm not sure how many people are going to be willing to use this despite the massive disadvantages.
      • by MightyYar (622222) on Saturday January 19, 2013 @10:19AM (#42633425)

        I don't think they have to stream the MP3s - they could be using Safari's persistent storage [apple.com].

        In any case, on my Android phone I use Subsonic and get decent battery life. Subsonic streams music from your home server, but in practice it spends a few seconds downloading each song and the data connection sleeps for most of the time you are listening. I also use Pandora and find it to be acceptable.

      • by Nerdfest (867930)

        Isn't that version of Safari also crippled so that only certain types of files can be uploaded (video and photo)? It doesn't matter in this case, but it blocks some others.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    And Safari will be broken In 3... 2... 1... At least that's what would happen when Steve was alive. Along with an explanation that the Amazon Web app was compromising stability and user experience. 'People don't want Amazon web app stores. People want iTunes.'

    • by Bogtha (906264) on Saturday January 19, 2013 @11:47AM (#42633739)

      And Safari will be broken In 3... 2... 1... At least that's what would happen when Steve was alive.

      That would be the same Steve that told everybody that the official way of getting apps onto the iPhone was through web apps when he first launched it?

      Mobile Safari and web apps have always been a vital part of the iPhone. It changed the mobile web landscape completely, because it was the first popular mobile phone with a desktop-class web browser built in. Your revisionist history implying that Steve would happily throw Mobile Safari under the bus to hurt a competitor is at odds with history.

      Along with an explanation that the Amazon Web app was compromising stability and user experience.

      Presumably you are referring to mobile Flash. I think it's abundantly clear that this was actually the case and not an anti-competitive move. Even Android and Adobe dropped mobile Flash.

      • It sounds like web apps were the official way with the original iPhone, before the App Store existed, and they needed a selling point for their device. How altruistic of them. Then Apple made the App Store. Now they want you to use that, but they can't really justify shutting down web apps, so all they can do is ignore them and hope users do the same.
        • Actually the move to the App Store happened because developers balked at not being allowed to have native apps like Apple had on the device. Steve had no intentions to ever have a store beyond their music/movies/tv/ and eventually books. It was only when developers demanded native app space that Apple looked to get something out of allowing it.
          • Actually the move to the App Store happened because developers balked at not being allowed to have native apps like Apple had on the device. Steve had no intentions to ever have a store beyond their music/movies/tv/ and eventually books. It was only when developers demanded native app space that Apple looked to get something out of allowing it.

            I would bet that the SDKs for native app development were in development simultaneously with iPhone development, but not ready for prime time when the iPhone was released. As typical for Steve Jobs, if Apple can't deliver it, or not in the quality that people would expect, then you don't actually want it and Apple will never do it. Until it suddenly appears and it was always the greatest thing in the world.

            • by zbaron (649094)

              I would bet that the SDKs for native app development were in development simultaneously with iPhone development.

              Of course they were. How do you think the Apple provided native Apps were built? In fact, when the SDK was announced, it was announced as giving third party developers access to the same tools that Apple used to build their own native Apps.

    • by ClaraBow (212734)
      How does hyperbole get modded insightful? Oh, I just asked a stupid question -- a very stupid question!
      • by NoMaster (142776)

        If only you'd said "I just asked a stupid question - an astoundingly, brain-numbingly, dumber than the Bay of Pigs crossed with the Lindsay Lohan, stupid question!", I would have modded you up...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    That was always one of Apple's suggested options. Heck, it was the original option.

  • by DogDude (805747) on Saturday January 19, 2013 @11:03AM (#42633569) Homepage
    I'm constantly amazed at the hoops people jump through to help the tech giants control their lives in the name of convenience. This sure as hell doesn't sound convenient to me. Amazon, Google, Apple, Facebook.... It just never really ends.

    I'll keep my CD's, thank you. Better sound quality, and I don't have to sell my soul to one of these parasitic companies just to play music. More convenient and infinitely simpler.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I'd rather have my FLACs on my Android phone. Same (or sometimes better) sound quality than CDs. I can listen to them anywhere without a data connection, and put them on the phone with open source tools.

      Not all platforms are deliberately designed to remove the user's freedom. Google may be pushing their cloud apps with Android, but they still give you the choice to do things the traditional way and they give other companies the choice to build their own systems. unlike Apple.

      • And who are selling FLAC files? Most FLAC I've seen are from CD rips, so how do they sound better than cd's? No turning motor?

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      I'll keep my CD's, thank you. Better sound quality, and I don't have to sell my soul to one of these parasitic companies just to play music. More convenient and infinitely simpler.

      By all means, keep your CDs. Since most of the mp3s come from a CD source, they DO have superior quality. But you don't have to sell your soul to anyone to play music. Most people will download from Amazon on their PC and upload to their iDevice just like they've been doing all along, and everyone else can use Amazon's actually quite good mobile site. Or, if their device is sufficiently powerful and has a good web browser, the full site. I have no problems pulling up the full Amazon site in Opera Mobile on

    • by thegarbz (1787294)

      I'll keep my CD's, thank you.

      I'm constantly amazed at the hoops people jump through to help consume media. Going to the store to purchase a round fragile piece of plastic? Having to put it into a player? Having to convert it to another format to load on their phone? This sure as hell doesn't sound convenient to me.

      I don't understand how you could possibly think that is more convenient than typing what you want in the phone from wherever you are and clicking download, and while I am not a fan of Apple, the ability to download the song w

  • by DavidinAla (639952) on Saturday January 19, 2013 @12:14PM (#42633823)
    The rules for iOS are very simple. If you want to sell apps through the App Store — or sell anything inside those apps — you give Apple a 30 percent cut. If you want to sell through the web browser, you're own your own. The idea that Apple has any interest in controlling what are essentially web pages is sheer idiocy. There's absolutely no evidence to cause a rational person to even ask the question. It's only insane hatred of Apple and the desire to attack the company that could be behind such a question, because there is no rational reason to even bring it up. If you want to sell something through what is essentially a webpage that has a link on your screen, Apple has never shown the least bit of interest in stopping you. It's sheer delusion to suggest otherwise.
    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      Not entirely correct. You can't link from your app to your web store directly unless you also offer in-app purchases. Amazon can't, for example, put a link in their Kindle app to their web site where you can buy books because they don't support in-app purchases because Apple would want 30% of those.

      What it boils down to is an inferior experience for iOS users. Android, Blackberry and WP users can all buy direct from apps where iOS users can't even get a link directly to the web site where they can make the

  • why dont amazon just add a surcharge for people who want to buy things using apples app store.

  • They will claim Amazon violates their patent on Safari's rounded corners. Then they'll go to court and try to ban Amazon. (It's funny, laugh...)

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Fire up safari and go to the Google Play Music and you can buy and listen to music. Amazon isn't being innovative or anything.

  • The rumor is they are hiring Steve Ballmer to give the response.

    Apple employees are hiding their Herman Miller chairs, just in case.

  • by Roogna (9643)

    Apple's %30 is less about making money from what I've seen (This is also substantiated by SEC reports) and more about customer support management. Remember, those of us here on /. are perfectly capable of knowing that when we buy app from Vendor B, and it's billing breaks, that it's not Apple's fault, but Vendor B's. For most consumers that is simply not the case though, they buy the wrong thing from Vendor B and the charge gets messed up? They're not even going to look up that company's phone number, th

    • I don't think so. When people buy ebooks via their amazon kindle app they know they are dealing with amazon. Apple shouldn't be involved in any step along the way, so why should they get 30%?

      • Apples customers are chumps.

        There is value in that big a group of chumps. Same as AOL of old and facebook.

  • "I wonder if Apple with have a response to this."

    Sure, the same response they've always had: If you don't like our app store rules, build a web app.

    People keep thinking that Apple is going to be surprised by people building web apps or taken aback. Apple's line from the beginning is that the store rules were acceptable because if you didn't like them, you could still build a web app and get around the rules.

  • Apple will not give a sh!t. You can load mp3 files onto any iDevice and Apple does not care, why should this be different? Yes, you use iTunes to do it, just as I needed to use Nokia software to load stuff onto my old Nokia phones. Bah, the OP is just drawing your attention to a new serviced, it is just and advert.

    • I agree that Apple shouldn't care and I hope they don't. They also shouldn't care if I want to buy an ebook through a kindle app.

  • Shorter summary: Amazon creates mobile-optimized from which you can buy MP3's.

    As many others have pointed out, this is what Apple has said for years companies should do if they don't want to go through the app store. Amazon didn't "find it" It's not a sneaky loophole or unique, innovative, or new. I'm puzzled why this is even a story at all, much less worthy of a Slashdot article.

    • It's just an advertisement for this new service. Add Apple hate, fan the flames and you get tons of visibility for nothing. Actually this is not so much a brilliant idea but rather smart astroturfing.

  • What the submitter missed was the fact that the Amazon MP3 store for the mobile web is used for purchasing songs and to then play them using the Amazon Cloud Player. In fact, you can't even listen to mp3s through the website.

    Basically, Amazon optimized the website to make it easier to purchase MP3s. You could do it before with their website, it just wasn't as nice. Nothing to see here, move along.

  • First of all, Amazon has a wider selection at more sensible prices. I can buy a full physical CD at lower costs than the music on iTunes, and I have already come across a situation where I could only buy individual songs and not a whole album.

    To illustrate what that means in money terms, Amazon would charge me $15 or so for the whole album as a physical CD whereas the same album in iTunes would cost over $40.

    This was actually the point where I switched to Amazon. First of all, an MP3 plays everywhere (inc

Today's scientific question is: What in the world is electricity? And where does it go after it leaves the toaster? -- Dave Barry, "What is Electricity?"

Working...