Kindle opening could cripple iPhone competitors

Amazon.com's decision to launch an iPhone application for e-books is a one-way street that should drive more Kindle devices and e-books purchased, not fewer.

Last week, Tim O'Reilly called for Amazon.com to open up its Kindle e-reader, or "Amazon will wind up another online pioneer who ends up a belated guest at the party it planned to host."

On Wednesday, Amazon demonstrated that it understands the value of openness, even if it's not yet prepared to embrace open standards for the Kindle, by providing an iPhone application that enables users to read their Kindle content on Apple's iPhone, as CNET reports .

This is a shrewd move. It's unlikely that many will want to trade the Kindle reading experience for the iPhone's , but it should prove a useful complement that drives more Amazon revenue.

As Mozilla's John Lilly opines, the iPhone Kindle application is "useful, if I'm somewhere and forgot my Kindle...and I'm sure that I'll buy books with it to read a snippet, then really read on my Kindle."

In sum, by providing a Kindle for iPhone application, Amazon has opened up a compelling complement to its Kindle device, one that will likely feed more revenue to Amazon while simultaneously crippling rivals' efforts to build a critical mass of iPhone e-book readers.

Genius.

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About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.

     

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