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5/11/2009
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Amazon Launches iPhone-Optimized Kindle Store

The e-commerce site is the latest indication that the online retailer is taking a multiplatform strategy in selling electronic books.

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Amazon on Monday launched a version of the Kindle Store optimized for Apple's iPhone and iPod Touch, the latest indication that the online retailer is taking a multiplatform strategy in selling electronic books.

Amazon has modified the Kindle Store, so people accessing it through the Amazon application for the devices will get an interface tailored for the size and shape of their touch screens. Amazon offers its application for free through Apple's App store.

Amazon released its iPhone/iPod Touch application in March, showing that the retailer was interested in expanding its reach in the e-book market beyond its own Kindle reader. The application uses a version of the software that powers the Kindle.

Last month, Amazon bought Lexcycle, maker of the Stanza e-book reader for the Apple devices. Analysts believe Amazon eventually will use the technology in providing better access to its Kindle Store.

While the Kindle and other e-book readers offer screens far larger and better for reading that the Apple devices, the latter are considered good enough and could become popular as readers for commuters, short trips on subways and buses, and other limited uses. Apple has sold millions of the devices, making them even more attractive to retailers like Amazon.

Amazon sees its mobile application as a complement to the Kindle. The e-reader's software saves and synchronizes customers' bookmarks across Kindle, iPhone, and iPod Touch, so users can read a few pages on their Apple device and pickup where they left off on their Kindle.

Amazon has taken an early lead in the market with the popular Kindle. While the company doesn't release sales figures, Citigroup Global Markets estimates Amazon has sold an estimated 500,000 units last year, and could generate $1.2 billion in Kindle-related revenue by 2010, or about 4% of Amazon's total sales, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Amazon is likely to face tougher competition from Sony and others in the near future. Rivals are expected to release new products and stores in mounting an aggressive challenge to Amazon.


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