A couple of weeks ago we reported that Verizon is readying their own Android app marketplace, called V CAST Apps, as an alternative to the Android Market. Now Amazon is following suit with their own store for the mobile OS. The exact motivations are unclear, but in the general sense, it would seem Amazon wants to make sure it’s an active player in electronic commerce. Paid mobile applications are big business now, and it’s in the interest of a pioneering e-commerce giant like Amazon to be as involved in the field as possible.
Here are some alleged details, including some weird restrictions, according to TechCrunch:
- For each sale of an App, [you will receive] a royalty equal to the greater of 70% of the purchase price or 20% of the List Price as of the purchase date (70/30 is standard, this 20/80 split is somewhat odd and confusing)
- The List Price is apparently in place so that you can’t sell your app cheaper on other “similar services” — meaning other app stores, presumably
- The “similar services” should also include the forthcoming Chrome Web Store, if I’m reading this correctly
- There is a $99 fee to be a developer in this program (the same as Apple’s iOS developer program)
- It seems like if your app is available on other platforms, you have to make sure to update it at the same time on Amazon’s store that you do in any other store (this will piss off a lot of developers)
- Apps will have to be laced with Amazon DRM — meaning they will only work on devices they approve (obviously)
- Amazon has the right to pull any app for any reason (obviously)
- Apps can also be shown on amazon.com (this is up to Amazon)
- You can offer free apps
- The app store is U.S.-only (at least for now)
- This part is interesting too: “We have sole discretion to determine all features and operations of this program and to set the retail price and other terms on which we sell Apps.”
The US-only limitation is disappointing for developers and consumers, since paid apps for Android are still not available in other countries, although that is starting to change.
Digital delivery is increasingly important to Amazon — that’s the whole reason the Kindle came about. And that’s why it makes sense for the Amazon tablet rumor to be true: the iPad and other tablets are stealing e-readers’ thunder, whether deservedly or misguidedly (some consumers are willing to forgo the huge advantages in reading that e-ink offers). Again, it would be in Amazon’s interest to get into the tablet space as soon as possible, to propagate their store and products and maintain a presence wherever consumer excitement is.
The tablet rumor came with the same tip that gave up the app store news, so we hope to have confirmation soon.