Kobo HTML5 App to Accommodate iOS Users and Work Around Apple Rules

Posted by at 3:22 pm on July 26, 2011

Kobo on Tuesday set out a plan for an HTML5 e-reading app to circumvent Apple’s app purchasing rules. The app won’t be a direct replacement but will let iPad and iPhone users buy directly from the same interface they use to read books. Kobo made clear it felt Apple was artificially limiting competition and hurting the reading experience.

“Unfortunately, Apple has mandated that Kobo, along with all eBook retailers, substantially change the eReading experience for consumers by removing in-app access to the Kobo store,” the company said.

The web app would have the upshot of reaching more platforms and delivering new features as soon as they’re available rather than waiting for a download. Readers might equally get a consistent experience where OS variations don’t affect what features are available and the overall presentation.

A live version of the app should be available later in 2011.

Kobo’s objection comes after Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google, and other bookstore owners were finally pushed into making the change about three weeks after Apple’s June 30 deadline. Apart from the fair competition concerns, some have questioned the purpose of waiting until over a year after iBooks launched to curb apps and the effectiveness of a step that mostly just makes using rival services inconvenient.

Apple has suggested HTML5 as the place to go whenever companies disagree with its app policy, though its approach gives apps on its own platform an advantage through better offline support, more native interfaces and more advanced media playback.

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