Amazon has created a web-based Kindle app that does everything the desktop version can do, letting Chromebook users read on the plane but also bypassing Apple's cut on the iPad.
The Kindle Cloud Reader only works on Safari and Google's Chrome, and uses HTML5 to download books for offline reading. It also links directly to the Amazon store where users can browse, and buy, electronic books without being forced into Apple's iTunes, and without Amazon having to pay Apple's cut.
The Kindle reader is already available for just about every platform, including iOS and Mac desktop. Amazon has done a sterling job of integrating the various versions, so a book started on one device can be continued seamlessly on another, with the cloud incarnation being no different in that respect.
On the iPad it's even prettier, and has the link to the Amazon store which so upset Apple earlier in the year. Cupertino likes to make 30 per cent on everything purchased for iOS, including additional content; Amazon's decision to push everything into the browser puts it outside the control of Apple.
It also vindicates the original position of Steve Jobs on the launch of the iPhone: that local applications were unnecessary and everything could be done in the web browser. Apple, and Steve, swiftly U-turned on that when it became clear the browser was too limited and have since done very nicely out of selling applications, but the browser is a lot more powerful now.
Amazon isn't the first company using the browser to bypass that of Apple, porn outfits have been using clever HTML to get round Apple's prudish nature, but Amazon's decision is an important demonstration that not all routes to the customer have to lead through Cupertino.
Of course all Amazon need to do now is get their cloud services up and running again or they'll be leaving a lot of readers waiting.®