The App Store vs. Mobile Web Apps

Here’s Joe Wilcox, arguing that Amazon’s new Kindle Cloud Reader and Walmart’s Vudu video streaming site augur poorly for the future of Apple’s App Store. Wilcox’s argument is the most strident I could find, but he’s not alone.

But think about it this way: it’s Apple that has created the best, by far, platform for mobile web apps. It’s Apple that created the “Add to Home Screen” feature in Mobile Safari, which allows mobile apps to appear on the home screen as peers to App Store apps. Android doesn’t have that feature. Apple wants iOS devices to have a great mobile web app experience, in addition to the App Store.

With the case of media apps like commercial e-book readers and video streaming sites, it seems to me that you can argue that Apple has forced them to go web-based. E-book readers in particular — the “agency model” prevents e-booksellers from giving Apple a 30 percent cut.

Apple didn’t expect everyone to go along with the new “give us 30 percent of subscription and content revenue” rules. They expected some of these apps to switch to the mobile web. To Apple, being in the App Store is a privilege — not the whole ballgame.

Thursday, 11 August 2011