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Dear Amazon and Apple: It's time for a team-up

Dan Moren | July 20, 2015
I love team-ups. Whether it be the Avengers or Ed Exley and Bud White, there's nothing I enjoy more than that moment where a couple of at-odds, would-be heroes put aside their differences and instead work together towards a common goal.

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I love team-ups. Whether it be the Avengers or Ed Exley and Bud White,  there's nothing I enjoy more than that moment where a couple of at-odds, would-be heroes put aside their differences and instead work together towards a common goal.

The time is ripe for an Apple and Amazon team-up. Despite the low-level animosity that seems to color many of their recent interactions, the two of these superpowers working together could be a force for good.

Because Apple and Amazon aren't enemies--not really. Yes, they have their areas of competition: Cloud storage, digital music, ebooks, and so on. But at their heart, they have fundamentally different goals.

Amazon wants to sell you stuff. That could be everything from books to patio furniture to a recurring diaper subscription. Apple, on the other hand, wants you to buy its devices: Macs, iPhones, iPads, and so on. Everything else is subservient to these respective goals: Apple sells music and ebooks to convince people to buy its devices; Amazon sells devices to get people to buy more things from its site.

To me, that seems more complimentary than competitive.

Assemble!

Imagine the might of these two superpowers combined.

I'm thinking of a few places in particular where tensions between Amazon and Apple could be eased. For example, I'd love to be able to purchase Kindle ebooks (or comics in Comixology) via their respective iOS apps. Currently, this runs afoul of Apple's in-app purchase restrictions, which require the vendor to give up 30 percent of every transaction and forbid them from not only offering any other way to buy digital content through an app, but even prohibit linking to, say, a web-based store.

As a customer of both Amazon and Apple this is an exercise in bang-your-head-against-the-wall frustration. Much as I'm sure Apple would love to pull down 30 percent of all Kindle ebook sales through Amazon's iOS app, let's be clear: It's never gonna happen. Apple also might hope that this limitation will entice more of its customers towards buying their ebooks from the iBooks Store, but I don't think those who have invested time and money in the Kindle platform are likely to give in quite so easily. Instead, they'll just figure out how to buy books from Amazon's website and read them in the Kindle app, then grumble at what they perceive as Apple's moneygrubbing nature.

But again, this isn't an area where Apple and Amazon should be competing. Because, as mentioned above, Apple's goal is for you to buy their products. And you know what makes those products more compelling? Being able to buy ebooks without jumping through hoops. Hey, imagine if you could even use Apple Pay to buy those Kindle books. That'd be pretty great, wouldn't it? Maybe there's a little quid pro quo there for Apple and Amazon.

 

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