Is Amazon justified in not having a Kindle App Store?

Amazon’s decision to not allow third party apps for the Kindle doesn’t seem quite as strange if you consider -

  1. The ongoing FCC investigation of Apple because they didn’t let the Google Voice App into the iPhone App Store.
  2. The ‘about to become a fiasco’ attempt by Rhapsody to add an iTunes competitor app.

We suddenly have a situation where Apple is supposed to let competitors and would be usurpers into their walled garden. To profit off their hard work and exploit their users as they see fit.  

Does Political Correctness dictate that Apple and Amazon turn their platforms into dumb pipes?

Take a company that invests hundreds of millions of dollars and builds up its platform or service – Apple with its iPhone, Amazon with the Kindle.

The message seems to be -

Great for you that you built up the #1 spot.

You have to be polite though, and buy the politically correct ‘be open’ nonsense your competitors are selling.

So, guess you’ll just have to turn yourself into dumb pipes and let other companies make all the money.

Oh, by the way, if you’re not stupid enough to buy this ‘altruism’ nonsense, we’ll just step in and make sure you have no choice.

We seem to be forgetting that -

  1. Every company is in it to make money.
  2. Altruism and openness are just strategies.

By buying this ‘be open’ message we’re negating the platform owners’ advantages while doing nothing to counter the advantages their opponents have.

Who in their right mind would develop platforms and infrastructure if all platforms were dumbed down and socialized? 

Can Amazon be blamed for not even considering a Kindle App Store?

Here are the benefits for Amazon if it opens up a Kindle App Store -

  1. Someone codes a good Folders app. 
  2. We get a few crosswords apps. 
  3. Someone taps into the hidden GPS abilities and creates a local search and maps feature.

The upside is completely drowned out by the huge risks -

  1. Google submits an app that takes over the browser and the kindle store and then pulls in the FCC if the app isn’t approved.
  2. Buy.com starts running an app to buy things from them via the Kindle.
  3. WalMart builds an app that price-matches every Amazon purchase and offers Kindle owners free shipping if they choose WalMart.
  4. Gambling companies try to co-opt the Kindle into being an on the go casino.
  5. Virtual Goods companies start selling ‘virtual gifts’ and exploiting trusting Kindle owners.

Basically, the message the FCC’s investigation is giving companies is -

Its not ‘correct’ to be really, really good and beat your competition.

Its so evil to make money off of your hard work and your #1 position.

Why build a platform when you can just con your way into exploiting the platform.

Opening up your platform even a little is inviting total disaster. Apple did and see what they’re left with -

  1. Google owns search. 
  2. Google owns Maps. 
  3. Google wants to own making phone calls.
  4. Rhapsody and Palm want to subvert iTunes.

Amazon has to be looking at this and thanking their lucky stars they didn’t start opening up the Kindle.

Why not let the Customers Decide?

There’s no love lost between Apple and me. However, I’m firmly on Apple’s side here as this ‘government stepping in to right wrongs’ approach is too socialistic –  

  1. Customer have free choice – they won’t buy an iPhone or Kindle if they don’t want to. 
  2. Who decides what’s important to customers? Some company with ulterior motives? The Government?
  3. The US is a capitalist country, is it not?

This FCC stepping in to ‘open up’ the Apple Store is rather reminiscent of ‘Financial Bailouts to prevent an Economic Disaster’ in that the people being saved are not you and me – it’s big, huge corporations that are already making billions.

Surely, if the customers were so dismayed by Apple’s lack of openness and Kindle’s lack of support for ‘open’ formats, they would stop buying iPhones and Kindles – would they not?

Perhaps we’re not dumb idiots who have to be ‘saved’ from ‘evil, closed systems’. Perhaps the reality is that we just don’t care about being fooled by an altruistic strategy into making some company undeservedly rich.

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