Book Wars – the Apple Empire Strike Back
It’s hard to fathom but Borders, a 40-year-old book store that grew from small store to a colossal retailer of books, DVDs and CDs, will soon be extinct as the dinosaurs of the Cretaceous Era. Why, you may ask? Well for several years visitors to Borders.com were automatically redirected to Border’s hosted site on Amazon.com. There’s a plan for success, send your customers and their money to a site controlled by your number one competitor. Ultimately, because of Border’s lack of vision, its failure to adapt to changing economic times and the emergence of the electronic-book market, it got left out of the e-book revolution. Today, a reader can get a new book release wirelessly in a matter of seconds over wi-fi or telephone networks. Now, two behemoths, Apple and Amazon, are left to battle it out.
Apple has now staked out an anti-competitive position and has demanded that Amazon no longer include a Kindle Store button on their Kindle App if they want to stay part of Apple’s iTunes Store. The latest “update ” of Kindle removes this button. This is quite troubling for all consumers. Apple’s iBook has a significant advantage as it has a direct button to its e-book store, while Amazon’s Kindle will no longer have this capability. Instead, loyal Kindle users will have to access the Kindle store over the Internet. Ultimately, the consumer loses because competition has been eliminated.
Think about it, since when can a computer company control who can sell on the computer you purchased? How would we feel if Microsoft made such a power play? Will Apple start taking similar action on popular merchandising Apps such as those for Ebay and Amazon? Is this what we want? This is the same sort of power play that lead to Microsoft being prosecuted for anti-trust violations because it gave its own office programs a competitive advantage over its competition by playing games with its source code.
Obi-wan-Kobo, you are our only hope… Oh, wait, the Kobo is the e-reader from Borders! Oops! Oh, Mobipocket Reader, are you are our last hope? Will the Apple Death Star become fully operational before the Rebels e-readers can attack? With the iPad and iPhone 4 already in orbit is it too late? We will just have to wait for this next episode to play out, but for now I am rebelling and won’t update my Kindle App. May the force be with you, always.