Analyst: Apple Blowing Off Ebook Market

Amazon's Kindle for the iPhone application means more than a new way to use your combination iPod and smartphone as an ebook reader, according to Gartner's Van Baker. It also means Apple doesn't have any interest in entering the ebook market, according to Computerworld.

By allowing Amazon to distribute its Kindle application through the App Store, Mr. Baker reasoned, Apple was sending the message that it won't be making its own ebook reader, or distributing ebooks itself. "The reader adds to the appeal of the iPhone platform, but it also shows that Apple clearly doesn't think that the ebook market is important," he said.

He added that Amazon's decision to release Kindle for the iPhone "is smart and will solidify their position as the go-to source for ebooks."

With Apple apparently out of the ebook market, the iPhone and iPod touch could become gateway devices for Amazon's Kindle 2. "The iPhone becomes a seeding platform for ebook distribution," Mr. Baker said. "I think a lot of people with iPhones are going to try [the Kindle reader]. When they do, some will say, 'I'd like to download directly, and I want a bigger screen, so maybe I should buy a Kindle.'"

Apple CEO Steve Jobs has previously said that his company isn't interested in jumping into the ebook market. "It doesn't matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people don't read anymore," he said. "Forty percent of the people in the U.S. read one book or less last year. The whole conception is flawed at the top because people don't read anymore."

Amazon, however, disagrees, and as long as Apple stays out of the ebook market, it has one less competitor to worry about.