Amazon has launched its Android Appstore with curatorial element to take on the Android Market but in the process was sued by Apple for trademark violation.
Bloomberg reported that Apple filed a complaint against Amazon on March 18 for trademark infringement, as Apple claims entitlement over the name App Store. The complaint also includes charges for unfair competition.
Amazon launched its Android App Store with 4,000 apps PaidContent reported.
Apple sees a competitor in Amazon and was quick to slap a lawsuit to underscore its point but Google seems to be in a quandary as to whether to call Amazon an ally or an enemy.
Amazon Appstore differs from Google's Android Market as it brings in Apple-like oversight to the App Store. Amazon will play the curator's role as it will screen the apps which will be showcased in its store unlike Android Market which does not have an approval system. Android Market depends on users to flag a dangerous or fraudulent app.
Apple's stringent and sometimes vague approval rules for its App Store are legendary but Amazon seems to distinguish its policing rules in that its terms and conditions are simpler with the main criteria for approval being that apps are functional.
Android Market follows its open-source axiom and allows all kinds of apps in its store without significant regulation. This raises security issues as faulty native apps can crash the phone. TechCrunch reported that Amazon will also screen-out porn and illegal apps.
PaidContent reported that Amazon Appstore will possibly follow Apple's 70/30 revenue sharing model. However, Amazon will dictate the pricing of the app. Developers can suggest a retail price but Amazon will take the final call.
The decision to keep tabs on pricing will allow Amazon to compete with similar apps on the basis of pricing. This raises the issue as to whether Amazon will out-price similar apps available on Android Market or on apps stores run by Verizon and other network providers, as it did with booksellers by out-pricing them.
TechCrunch called Amazon's App Store plan as Fragmentation. Curation. Recommendations. The App Store agenda has raised questions as to whether a walled-garden model for Android Apps is a requirement, as it will directly compete with Android Market and sideline Google from the equation as well.
Amazon certainly scores over the Android Market as it offers a better model for marketing and has the underlying payment infrastructure to assist purchasing. Amazon benefits from a regular clientele who have their credit card details on their website which makes payment easier.
The New York Times reported that Amazon will also use its recommendation algorithm to suggest apps to users. Aaron Rubenson, category leader for the App Store at Amazon, said: We spent years building shopping features that help customers find the products that are relevant to them from amidst a massive selection, and we're excited to apply those capabilities to the apps market.
Also, Amazon App Store will benefit Android device manufacturers who decide not to partner with Google. TechCrunch reported that all Android devices built in conjunction with Google come with Android Market and Google applications like Gmail. Thus Android device makers who choose to make devices sans Google can avail the benefits of apps in Amazon Store.
Amazon's App venture is primarily to boost its own content. The push in the market is to create an ecosystem of products, content and mindshare around a platform. Amazon has the content, has a limited device - eReader Kindle - but lacks a platform. Thus it can leverage on open-source Android which plugs this loophole. Amazon can also leverage on its content as it can encourage developers to create Android apps which can tap into its content, thus creating more opportunity to sell its media content.
Amazon lost the digital music battle to Apple iTunes and is sandwiched between iTunes and Netflix for online video content. Recently, Amazon announced the launch of an unlimited streaming service for its Prime members at no additional cost, but the membership will continue to be $79 per year.
More than 60 million people come to Amazon's websites each month and millions of them are prime members. Thus Amazon is attempting to create an iTunes like ecosystem to keep the customers walled. The only missing piece in the puzzle is a lack of device. This has led to reports that Amazon might load Android on its eReader Kindle.
The Appstore formula enables Amazon to position its content for the growing Android user base thus offering another vehicle to showcase its audio and video content beside eBooks. And if the experiment is successful it will be a loss for Android as it can create fragmentation of Android apps in an already fragmented Android world.