April 7, 2014
Why doesn’t Apple like Amazon, wonders the guy who just got $12 million from Jeff Bezos?
by Dustin Kurtz
Business Insider owner Henry Blodget has questions. Questions like:
- Why can’t I buy Kindle ebooks more easily on my iPhone?
- Why does Apple insist on charging 30% in its app store?
- What sort of backhoe should I rent to help move this literal mountain of cash that Jeff Bezos just gave my company?
In a post on Friday, Blodget—sort of an Andy Rooney for the CNBC set, whose false confusion dovetails so perfectly with his actual confusion that no daylight or self-reflection can find its way through—related an oh-so-folksy gee-whilikers tale of trying to buy an ebook through the kindle app on his phone. It didn’t work! He tapped at that thing for a long time! The whole story is pretty suspenseful, but in the end our hero Blodget ends up having to use the browser on his phone to go to the Amazon website to buy the ebook he wants.
This cruel travail led Blodget to wonder, as he mopped his brow with one bundle of the $12 million that Uncle Jeff just paid into Business Insider, why Apple is making the iphone worse.
Among the questions Blodget did not take away from his sojourn in the ebook desert:
- Can Blodget buy ebooks in an .epub format in an Apple app on his Kindle?
- Can he buy a Yankees jersey out at Citi Field?
- What is shame? What does that feel like?
No time for such things! He’s busy stacking bundled wads of Jeff Bezos’ money into domino chains so that as the last wad in each chain falls onto the keyboard it types out a letter in paragraphs like:
And, no, I’m not mad at Amazon for not paying Apple its egregious 30% tax. That level of commission is outrageous. Unlike Apple, Amazon doesn’t make money hand over fist. Instead, it shares the profit it could be making with me, its customer, through lower prices, and I am continuously grateful for that.
Or, my favorite:
Is that really what Apple aspires to — to force its customers to use only services that Apple makes even when the customers don’t want to use those services?
Blodget is not wrong that Apple’s hard 30% cut stifles a lot of otherwise interesting media on, for instance, their newsstand app. And though the guy is laughable, at least he usually means well, if only in the sort of splenetic, neoliberal Thomas Friedmanian sense. For every bathroom attendant he gets fired, he also writes a post about how paying people might be good for business. Also about, like, sharks. As I say, the guy is confused. But you’d think that he’d have the decency to put a sort of ironic wink emoji behind that second excerpt above. Because, of course, not only does Amazon also insist on a closed system for their apps and devices, but they even insist on a separate file format for those ebooks he’s trying to read. Could Blodget point me to the best way to buy a book from my local indie bookseller through the Indiebound app on my Kindle over here?
Maybe he did have those thoughts written down to include in his piece but, wouldn’t you know it, they got lost under the Bezos cash cushion of his Bezos cash throne. Or did they roll under the ottoman built of the remnants of his earlier Bezos cash infusion? Ah well, probably not important. So long as he slaps a disclaimer on the end of his post I’m sure it’s fine.
Dustin Kurtz is the marketing manager of Melville House, and a former bookseller.