People who like to read books on their iPhones (including myself) will be pleased to hear that Amazon (s amzn) has grown tired of playing catch-up with Stanza on the platform and instead bought out the much smaller company behind the app, Lexcycle. The Stanza makers are reportedly “very excited” by the development, which is understandable considering the gobs of cash Amazon no doubt threw their way. I’d be jazzed, too.
While it looks like the Stanza devs will continue to work on the app under the Amazon banner, and they claim that no major changes to the app will result from the purchase, Amazon no doubt has big plans for the platform, which it will likely integrate with its existing iPhone app for Kindle titles. Hopefully they don’t just shut it down in favor of their own app, or rebrand it, because I think the Stanza name at this point has become a force to be reckoned with in the world of iPhone apps.
This is definitely a smart play for Amazon, no matter what route they choose to take. They’ve seen how successful the iPhone has been as an eBook reader, and they, like us, have no doubt seen the growing rumors that point towards a larger, tablet-type device coming out of Cupertino in the near future. Even though it’s unlikely that such a device will be marketed primarily as an eBook reader, if it runs iPhone OS and therefore supports app store programs, users will want to use it as one, regardless of whether or not it has e-ink capabilities. In other words, they’ve seen the writing on the wall, and they’ve obviously decided that if you can’t beat ’em, it’s best to acquire a company already in that space and join ’em. Good choice, Amazon.