Amazon.com is entering the mobile app business with an Android app store that is scheduled to open Tuesday. The store’s name has already prompted a lawsuit from Apple.
The Amazon Appstore, which will be accessible at Amazon.com/appstore and through a mobile app, will sell applications for Android phones and tablets. It will also encroach on Google’s territory by providing Android users with a new way to buy apps that cuts Google out of the equation.
The store, which Amazon initially announced in January, prompted a trademark infringement suit on Friday from Apple, which claims ownership of the App Store name. “We’ve asked Amazon not to copy the App Store name because it will confuse and mislead customers,” Apple said in a statement late Monday. Amazon said it had a policy of not commenting on litigation.
Because Android is an open platform, unlike Apple’s, other companies can open stores that sell Android apps. But Amazon is perhaps a more formidable competitor than others because people are used to buying things through the site and its mobile apps — and many have stored their credit card numbers on Amazon for years.
Amazon will provide a few things that Google’s Android Market does not, said Aaron Rubenson, category leader for the Appstore at Amazon, by throwing its marketing and e-commerce expertise behind the new service.
“We spent years building shopping features that help customers find the products that are relevant to them from amidst a massive selection,” Mr. Rubenson said, “and we’re excited to apply those capabilities to the apps market.”
For instance, it will use the recommendation algorithm that Amazon uses on its Web site to suggest certain apps, so if someone shops for March Madness gear on Amazon.com, the Appstore would recommend basketball apps. It will also offer a paid app for free every day, beginning with Angry Birds Rio. And users can test apps on the Web site before buying them.
The recommendation engine may be most important. There are so many apps that Apple, Google and others have struggled to suggest the right ones to users. For a long time, Google’s Android Market was quite difficult to search, but Google recently introduced a new and improved Android Market. A Google spokesman declined to comment on Amazon’s Android app store.
For app developers, the biggest difference between Amazon’s app store and others is that Amazon will set the prices the apps will sell for. Developers will suggest a price, but Amazon could sell them for a different price — potentially less than the sale price on the Android Market. Amazon will pay developers the greater of either 70 percent of the sale price, which is the standard revenue-share percentage for app stores, or 20 percent of the price the developer suggests the app sells for.
Unlike Google, Amazon will review apps before they are sold, but will only block them if they don’t work or if they put the customer’s data at risk, Mr. Rubenson said. That is somewhere in between the policies of Apple, which has blocked apps for other reasons, and Google, which doesn’t review them and faced the consequences this month when malware snuck into the Android Market.
As for whether the Kindle, Amazon’s e-reader, could eventually run the Android operating system, Mr. Rubenson said there is “nothing that we’ve announced.” Amazon is, however, considering selling apps for platforms other than Android.
Courtesy of NYtimes.com
I love this “don’t piss on out territory or we will sue” mentality that has come in to play so much lately in the “App store” arena. I think it is great to have more players in the app store business as it keeps prices low, and drives better quality apps.