Wednesday, 23 March 2011 09:37

Amazon announces Appstore for Android and Apple sues

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Amazon has launched its Appstore for Android, with an innovative try-before-you-buy feature. Apple's response: a trademark infringement suit.


The Amazon Appstore for Android gives customers a chance to try apps before purchasing via a simulated Android phone that runs in a computer's web browser. 

"Test Drive lets customers truly experience an app before they commit to buying. It is a unique, new way to shop for apps," said Paul Ryder, vice president of electronics for Amazon.com. The simulator runs on Amazon's Elastic Computer Cloud (EC2) service.

The Appstore for Android allows apps to be purchased on a computer or directly to an Android device via the Amazon Appstore for Android app. Installing that app is a someone involved - though one-off - operation.

There's also the promise that a normally paid app will be available free of charge each day. That offer started with Angry Birds Rio (usually $US0.99), a movie tie-in version of the popular game from Rovio.

Other participating developers include Adobe (Photoshop Express, Reader, etc), Evernote, and Glu Mobile (Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2; Guitar Hero 5, etc).

Developers that wish to sell their wares through Amazon's Appstore have a tough decision to make, and Apple has already taken aim at the name Amazon's given to its new venture - see page 2.




A major downside is that the Amazon Appstore is only available to US customers. And even if you are in the US, the process does not currently work with AT&T phones or tablets, though that company "is working to allow customers to install the Amazon Appstore and purchase apps from it", according to Amazon officials.

Developers are offered a choice of deals: they can either take 70% of the actual sales price or 20% of the list price, which must be no greater than the price of the app at other app stores. That could be a tricky decision as pricing is under Amazon's control.

Last week, Apple filed a trademark infringement and unfair competition suit against Amazon. Apple has applied to register the 'App Store' trademark, though that application is being formally opposed by Microsoft on the grounds that it is too generic.

'App Store' and 'Appstore' obviously aren't identical, but they may only need to be confusingly similar for Apple's case against Amazon to succeed, providing its trademark application is successful.

 


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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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