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Amazon’s Kindle e-books now on Apple Inc iPhone, iPod

Apple Inc iPhone and iPod Touch users can now read books on their devices using software from Amazon.com Inc’s Kindle electronic reader, boosting shares of the online retailer 5 per cent.

The news on Wednesday dispelled speculation that Amazon plans to compete more directly with smartphone providers by adding more functions to the Kindle, which represents a tiny fraction of the company’s business.

Moody’s Investors Service also upgraded Amazon’s long-term ratings on Wednesday, citing its ability to “generate strong growth and maintain healthy profitability during a very challenging retail climate.”

Amazon’s free application is available on Apple’s Web store and allows consumers to synchronize Kindles with iPhones and iPod Touch. Users will have access to more than 240,000 books available on Kindle, Amazon said in a statement on Wednesday.

The Kindle, priced at $359, has excited investors and gadget lovers since its launch in 2007, with some speculating the device might eventually be enhanced to compete with gadgets like the iPhone or iPod.

But Wednesday’s news suggested Amazon was more interested remaining the No. 1 retailer of e-books, rather than competing directly with Apple on devices.

“The announcement by Amazon is significant because it reduces the possibility of a competing, smaller form factor device becoming a player in the market,” wrote Stifel Nicolaus analyst Scott Devitt in a note.

Standard & Poor’s analyst Michael Souers wrote that Amazon was “paving the way to becoming the dominant e-book platform,” while adding that reading on devices like the iPod or iPhone would still be challenging, given their small screen sizes.

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