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Amazon Nixes Data for iPhone Apps

Amazon may be a master at making data available on the Web, but the company is putting the kibosh on third-party mobile device applications -- including iPhone apps -- that take advantage of that information. The first notable casualty of Amazon's terms and conditions is Delicious Monster's Delicious Library for the iPhone.

Delicious Monster's Delicious Library for the Mac accesses Amazon to gather information about a user's movies, books and CDs, including cover art and ratings, which is acceptable according to the company's terms and conditions. The app then uploads the same information to the iPhone version of Delicious Library, which Amazon says isn't OK.

Amazon's terms and conditions for using its API calls to access product information state "You will not, without our express prior written approval requested via this link, use any Product Advertising Content on or in connection with any site or application designed or intended for use with a mobile phone or other handheld device."

In other words, it's OK to use Amazon's product database information for desktop and laptop computer applications, but not for mobile device applications -- and Amazon doesn't seem to have any intention of granting third-party exemptions to the rule, at least for now.

The downside for developers and end users is that applications that rely on Amazon's information, even indirectly, aren't allowed.

Delicious Monster founder, Wil Shipley, drove that point home on Tuesday when he commented on Twitter "The DL2 iPhone app was perfectly safe, but Amazon has forced me to remove it due to their new contract. [§4e]"

He added "Delicious Library for iPhone isn't coming back as long as we're using Amazon's APIs, unless they decide to make an exception to section 4e."

While Amazon is within its rights to control how the APIs that allow access to its data are used, blocking developers from using the information on mobile devices, even indirectly, could ultimately leave its customers upset when mobile apps they previously used are ruled out of bounds.

Mr. Shipley pulled Delicious Library for the iPhone from Apple's App Store on Tuesday. iPhone and iPod touch users that already downloaded the app will still be able to use it, but anyone else hoping to try it out are out of luck until Amazon decides to change its rules.

2 comments from the community.

You can post your own below.

timon said:

I’ve already commented to Amazon that until they allow the “Delicious Library for iPhone to use the data I’m not buying anything from Amazon and neither is my Wife or many of my friends. Everyone else should do the same. After all the App only helps Amazon it in no way hurts them.


Randy said:

So how does one send a “comment” to Amazon anyway?  I’m sure they don’t make it very obvious on the site.  I’d be interested in knowing how to do it in order to sound off to them about my feelings in this matter.


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