Amazon Attacks Apple with New Kindle Cloud Reader

On Tuesday, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) released its new Cloud Reader, a multi-platform HTML5 web app for reading e-books online. The Cloud Reader is a new web platform for buying and reading e-books that Amazon has been selling for years to users of its Kindle e-reader.

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The new Cloud Reader doesn’t come as much of a surprise, since many companies have been coming up with similar web readers and the design of the new platform is almost identical to that of the Kindle for Mac desktop client released in October of last year, which the new e-reader is intended to sidestep.

The new Cloud Reader store can be used on many devices, including Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad. One simply clicks on the Kindle store app on the desktop, and it opens up in a new Safari browser window. While the Kindle for Mac platform gives Apple a 30% cut of the profits, the Cloud Reader will ensure that Amazon doesn’t have to share sales revenue from its e-books.

Amazon’s (NASDAQ:AMZN) new cloud also makes the experience of buying and reading e-books on the iPad much simpler than the previous Kindle app. It allows people to log on, buy a book, begin reading it instantly, and then later return to it on any of their supported devices.

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However, the Cloud Reader is still rather limited: It cannot use an unsupported browser, which at this point in time would be most of them, it doesn’t allow users to highlight text or write notes or to share text or notes on social media as one can do with the iOS Kindle app, nor does it allow one to buy or read magazines or other periodicals as one can also do with the iOS Kindle app. In essence, one can only buy and read books, which for some might be enough, but many others have enjoyed the new multi-media, social-networking aspects that e-readers have added to the reading experience.

The Cloud Reader still has a long way to go, but Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is already working on additional features, according to one Amazon representative. Amazon had to hurry to release the current version as soon as it was ready for the iPad because of Apple’s new app-purchasing rules, so many features one finds on other readers may simply still be in the testing phase, and could soon become available on updated versions.