If Apple thinks it can woo iPad owners forever with its shiny user-friendly apps and its cute matching app store, the company is deluded. Amazon and Walmart have challenged Apple to a duel with the release of the Kindle Cloud Reader and Walmart's Vudu streaming site. Beginning a few weeks ago Apple began enforcing its new in-app subscription rules, demanding a 30 percent cut for all sales directly from e-reader apps, as we reported. Companies like Amazon and now Barnes and Noble removed their links from the app store, refusing to pay up to Apple. But that stinks for readers who now have to go through a few extra taps to buy new reads. And it's extra lame for companies looking to sell their wares to iPad owners, who either have to suck it up and give Apple a large chunk of their sales, or forgo the app store link and inevitably lose some lazy readers. So Apple and its app store win, keeping their delights within the app store walls. But with the release of these independent cloud stores, where users can get the same experience without entering the app store cage, these companies are showing their customers and Apple that they don't need an app store to exist on the iPad.
These services allow Amazon and Walmart to sidestep Apple's 30 percent cut and also benefit their customers, who also avoid any contact with Apple's app store. Both sites were launched as a direct response to Apple's oppressive app store rules. Instead of paying up for direct app store links, Walmart took an alternative anti-app store route, releasing the Vudu streaming site, which bypasses the Apple app store while still providing that same Apple app experience. "It's not an app," Edward Lichty, general manager of Vudu, told Reuters's Alastair Barr. "It's an all-browser experience. But you access it in a similar way."