Amazon takes on Apple, Google as digital gatekeeper

“A recurring theme at Gadfly is Inc.’s ambitions to do everything under the sun,” Shira Ovide writes for Bloomberg. “It looks as if the company now wants to become a quasi app store similar to Apple or Google’s mobile versions.”

“Amazon on Monday created a single spot for people to sign up to digital subscriptions from companies including the Los Angeles Times and digital file cabinet Dropbox,” Ovide writes. “For the hundreds of millions of customers who have Amazon accounts tied to their credit cards, it’s easier to buy from Amazon than handing over their personal information multiple times to sign up individually for Dropbox, the New Yorker and SlingTV.”

“Amazon has previously sold subscriptions such as these, but this is first time it has packaged them in one place for customers to browse and purchase. If what Amazon is doing sounds a lot like Apple’s App Store or Google’s Play Store for Android phones, you are correct,” Ovide writes. “What if Amazon decided to take an even smaller share of revenue from subscriptions, or none at all? Presumably that would put pressure on Apple and Google to follow suit.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: This is potentially very powerful. If successful, this is just more proof that Amazon’s enormous influence continues to grow. It’s also proof that competition is good.


  1. Amazon is consolidating quite a few things these days. Premium channel subscriptions under Amazon Video that consolidates everything under a single interface (looking at you Apple TV), ComiXology which tailors to comics and manga collector/fans, Twitch Prime for those into viewing game/creative streams, Alexa as the single voice interface across a huge range of HW platforms. Now with more subscriptions, probably under the Kindle interface, they really are targeting majority control of all electronic print based media. No more 15-30% cut for Google and Apple for subscriptions.

  2. Bezos is the digital version of the rug salesman at a Turkish bazaar. Creates nothing, eternally has hand outstretched for his piece of the action as the intrusive middleman

    1. So how do you see this as different from what Google and Apple are doing concerning e-versions of print media subscriptions and dropbox which is the topic at hand?

    2. It’s rather funny a few years back how all the Apple bulls were laughing about Amazon not turning any profits. Apparently that doesn’t matter anymore. Amazon is already outperforming Apple in share gains and the P/E is almost ten times what Apple’s P/E is.

      Wall Street thinks Amazon is going to reach a $1T market cap before Apple is. Amazon is making Apple look weak. Plenty of articles questioning Apple’s ability to grow. No one questions Amazon’s ability to grow. Bezos is now considered the CEO god of Wall Street (Elon Musk?) and the next Bill Gates. Everyone is in awe of Jeff Bezos power and talent to destroy old empires. Even with as much money as Apple has, no one is in awe of Tim Cook or Apple. Apple is simply the company that the FANG stock shareholders point at and laugh. Every FANG stock will likely outperform Apple in share gains this year even if Apple can sell 250 million iPhone units in a year. How little faith big investors have in Apple. No faith at all.

      With as much cash as Apple was sitting on, the company could have grown immensely over the past five years with some big acquisitions. Nothing happened. Most of the money went to buybacks. Wall Street still doesn’t think it’s enough. Apple gets no more respect now than it did two years ago. I can only scratch my head in disbelief.

      1. Same old same old. “Apple is doomed!”

        Amazon completely failed with their own smart phone. Their Kindle line is a lost leader.

        Nobody is touching Apple in selling premium electronics. Apple continues to gain strength in it’s core business. The myth of peak iPhone is rapidly falling away.

        Amazon is a terrific online retailer, and is growing as an online retailer. It’s also got a nice cloud business. But Apple’s brick and mortar stores make more money per square foot than almost any other traditional retailer.

        What exactly is the point of attacking Apple when it is doing insanely well in the areas they have historically targeted? Because it isn’t expanding into other markets where it has no core advantages? Amazon offering subscription services to Android users doesn’t hurt Apple. Apple isn’t beating Starbucks coffee sales either.

        Apple is bigger than it ever was, and it’s market share and profits making premium electronics has never been stronger.

        1. Not an attack, but I don’t think having an iPhone excludes anyone from accessing Amazon’s products and services. As such Amazon’s strength in consolidating its interfaces and providing a consistent look regardless of your HW makes it easy for those purchasing ebooks, music, subscriptions from being ‘locked’ into any platform in contrast to offerings by Apple. Outside of Android Apps, Google also provides the freedom to use any platform for media/music you purchase from them. Seeing as how Apple has recently boasted about expecting a large portion of their future revenue generated from services, this move by Amazon may be a concern.

            1. I suppose that’s true of Amazon since the iCloud makes significant use of AWS. As for direct purchase access, I doubt owning an iPhone or not prevents anyone from purchasing from or any of its international sites. As for Google, iPhone would probably not have taken off quite as well as it did on launch. Imagine if the iPhone for years didn’t have access to Google search and had to settle for any of the alternatives while Android and even the Microsoft phone had access.

              Do you have any reference to back up the proportion of iPhone Uber users being significantly higher than other (assume Android here) users?

        2. Apple is not doomed. But it gives that impression by positioning itself incorrectly.

          Apple made its bones on great, forward-thinking products and designs. Trying to play feature-match with its competitors detracts from that and makes it look smaller.

          Apple, stay on target, get the miniaturization fetish under control, get back to work making great things for your customers.

          1. Yes, this.

            The problem with Apple’s current beancounter leaders is that hoarding cash offshore has proven to be useless. Wall Street doesn’t reward camping on it. The consumer doesn’t appreciate lack of timely product updates. Tim has to deploy that cash to update his stale Apple products the sooner the better. And not to come up with consumer fashion accessories either. Amazon has wooed investment because it has been focused on internal process and system investment. Nobody on the planet has a more efficient warehousing and distribution system. Nobody knows more about film and movie and books. Amazon runs its own operations and is very good at serving others, even Apple is an AWS customer.

            Meanwhile Apple can’t even operate its own iCloud. Apple hasn’t leveraged its legacy server design team to run the Apple business. Apple buys HP servers for its backbone. All that cash and Apple hasn’t even developed the ability to operate without the support of its direct competitors. When Apple finally did get a clue and vertically integrated the manufacturing of its 2013 Mac Pro, the idiots in charge of the project hamstrung the design to be a non-upgradeable and costly cylinder that did not match the workflow of its intended audience and was priced well out of reach of the average computer buyer. Feckless leadership didn’t even recognize the error for ~4 years.

            Too bad Apple doesn’t have the cash or the leadership to be a world class corporation that designs and makes the most innovative and up to date products anymore. Pipeline Timmy outsourced it all and left the idiots in charge in Cupertino while he is off on his moral crusades.

            1. People nitpick Apple for not basing their services on Apple hardware — I don’t. They got out of the server architecture/platform business years ago. It would be a slightly different case if they were producing & selling an enterprise server platform.

              That’s not a product they make. Their computers are (allegedly) pro and consumer workstations. The pro end is shaky these days, the consumer end is strong, except for the miniaturization fetish.

              Now, if they’re using Cheese Graters to do their dev and day-to-day work (oh, they are?) then you have a clear problem with their workstation product.

            2. Since Apple is trying hard to enter the Enterprise market, perhaps it’s time they get back into making servers or relinquish the better integration of having the same OS (Windows) on both client and server to the PC/Linux crowd. Integration seems to be a big focus of Apple in other areas after all.

    3. Or he’s just a modern Steve Jobs who found a niche and is plowing it. And doing very well at creating market upheaval with well established companies who might make good products but weren’t on their game in all areas. Maybe said companies could find CEOs who actually do their jobs and ensure parties to whole authority is delegated actually do their jobs. How long has EVERYBODY been bitching that the App Store is a mess? Does it look like anybody at Apple gave a damn to change it? How long have we been crying that the Apple TV has so much more potential? Does it look like Apple gave a damn to even give it 4K – a capability it gave to its phones? I so more power to Amazon. Microsoft and Apple have both said services are the name of the game and it appears very possible that both willl lose the game. Call me Ayn Rand but I say Let the markets decide.

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