VUDU debuts on the iPad today, though not quite in the way you'd expect. You won't find a VUDU app in the App Store — and for good reason. Apple takes a 30% cut of any content sold through in-app purchase, and Wal-Mart, like many other retailers, has no interest in forking that over to the world's most valuable company. Rather, VUDU has launched a mobile-optimized site, that provides access to most of the company's library of rentable streaming titles, with a major ommision: Walt Disney titles are notably absent; whether or not this has anything to do with Steve Jobs' status as Disney's largest shareholder is uncomfirmed. Still, you'll find plenty to choose from since all of the other major studios are onboard; the only real downside is that iPad viewing is strictly in SD.
In launching this Web "app," Wal-Mart is following Amazon's lead; the online retail giant has also launched a Web-based response to Apple's clampdown on in-app purchasing — which just weeks ago led the company to remove the purchase link from their iOS Kindle app — with the Kindle Cloud Reader, an iOS-friendly Web app that lets iPad owners purchase books from the Kindle store from the comfort (and relative retail safe haven) of Safari.
Doubtless we'll be seeing more end runs around Apple's in-app restrictions, so get ready for more skirmishes in this ongoing clash of the titans.
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