Amazon Avoids Apple’s Fees With Reworked ComiXology App


Source: Marvel

Digital comics platform comiXology recently revealed that it has released a new version of its popular Comics iOS app that eliminates the option for in-app comic purchases, reports CNET. The change comes approximately two weeks after Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) announced that it was buying the company. Without the option to make comic purchases directly through the app, Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone and iPad users must now access the comiXology website through the Safari browser in order to make their purchases. The digital comic purchases must then be synchronized to the iOS app.

Although Amazon risks losing some customers by making the process of buying a digital comic from comiXology less convenient for iOS users, the change allows the e-commerce giant to avoid paying Apple a 30 percent cut of any revenue generated through the Comics app. It should be noted that the Comics app is widely used by many Apple users and it typically ranks high on the iOS App Store’s top grossing charts for iPad apps. According to a press release from Amazon, the Comics app was the highest-grossing non-game iPad app in 2012 and 2013. While it remains to be seen if the change will significantly impact the popularity of the iOS Comics app, the company is offering users a $5 gift card in order to ease the transition.

The in-app purchase change also brings the comiXology app in line with Amazon’s other iOS apps. Amazon’s Kindle app for iOS has long circumvented Apple’s 30 percent revenue cut by directing app users to the company’s website for e-book purchases.

Amazon also implemented an update for the Android version of the comiXology app in order to avoid paying in-app purchase fees to Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL). However, the change for Android users was less impactful, since they can still make in-app purchases, but must simply use a credit card instead of a Google Play account.

This is not the first time that a company has balked at Apple’s strict in-app purchase policy. Apple’s app revenue policy was previously rumored to be a point of contention between Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Apple and may have been one of the reasons why Office for iPad wasn’t released until after former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer retired.

Although Amazon announced the purchase of comiXology on April 10, the terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. According to comiXology’s iTunes app page, the company has more than 50,000 titles in its library, including many selections from Marvel Comics, DC Comics, and Image Comics.

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