One Kindle customer has encountered a bug on his Manage My Kindle page and then after being misled by an uninformed Amazon rep, he concluded that Amazon had deliberately decided to no longer allow downloads of Kindle ebooks - not even the DRM-free ones.
To be more exact, the troubling report concerns the "Download and Transfer" which can be seen on Manage My Kindle page. According to this source that option has disappeared.
The Kindle customer in question is Eric Rosenfield, and over on his Wet Asphalt blog he posted a damning transcript of his conversation with the Amazon rep. I won't quote it here because of length but I will say that it had me worried at first.
Unfortunately for Eric there's a major problem with his conclusion. He's flat out wrong.
I double checked and I can still download ebooks from the Manage My Kindle page. I can download DRMed ebooks, I can download DRM-free ebooks, and I can even read the latter in calibre (without removing any DRM). And just to be doubly sure, I went and bought a Cory Doctorow ebook (his work is bound to be DRM-free). It downloaded just fine and I read it in calibre without any issue.
Here is my evidence:
Given that I had no issue, I can only conclude that Eric encountered a bug of some kind. That stinks, but it's not a sign of nefarious misdeeds on the part of Amazon.
P.S. If you should happen to see Eric's tale being passed around, please do everyone a favor and give them a link to this post. I am all for blaming Amazon but let's limit ourselves to only yelling about their actual misdeeds.
P.P.S. And since I did not say it earlier, I'd like to thank the commenters who set me straight on the Kindle DRM contract story that I got so incredibly wrong.