Wal-Mart Stores and Amazon are looking to reach Apple iPad users directly with online books and movies, without going through Apple's App Store, which takes a 30% cut of transactions. Wal-Mart's video-streaming service Vudu can be accessed via a Web shortcut that is designed to look like an application. Amazon's Kindle Cloud Reader works much the same way, giving readers access to their Kindle libraries even when they are offline. The offerings are built using HTML5, which gives applike functionality to Web services.

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