back to article Amazon preps upmarket US Android app emporium

Amazon is inviting Android developers to upload their applications for listing in a better class of app store, at a price set by Amazon and only available within the USA. The application store will launch later this year, but developers who sign up now get a free year before they have to start stumping up the $99 annual fee. …


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  1. King Edward I

    Most important qu...

    Do the T&Cs ban you from uploading the same app to different app stores?

  2. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    nice idea

    It will some time before it starts competing with iTunes app store, though.

  3. Giles Jones Gold badge


    How long before Simon Cowell starts an app store and starts auditioning apps?

    How about Alan Sugar? "You're fired".

    As much as people think every app should be approved, there's a good reason for attempting to review quality. A shop evaluates everything they sell, they don't stock things that they feel won't sell.

    Of course free software is another thing altogether.

  4. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Weeding out the crap is important

    I think that'll be a lot more valuable than you think. Google's crappy search (from Google!!) combined with a ton of just plain garbage apps pretty much makes the app store useless for me.

    I haven't trawled through looking for interesting apps in months, now I just look for a specific app when someone else says it's good, or when I get referred via the barcode from some website.

    It's no longer an app store, it's more like a large FTP site where you happen to be able to purchase some of the files, and there's no overall file listing available.

  5. Bryce Prewitt


    How about an app store that restricts apps to only the permissions they need and, gasp!, takes it one step farther and restricts the apps' ability to invade my privacy?

    Finding a quality app isn't any harder than finding a quality restaurant or pub. Finding one that won't figuratively spit in my curry or piss in my pint is.

  6. TaabuTheCat

    Interesting leap of faith...

    needed on the part of developers. Amazon could pretty much gut the market for your app by giving it away for free (or very low cost) and only paying you 20%. I suppose the argument is that volume would more than make up for the missing 50% of revenue, but it seems the risk is all on the developer, and more importantly, you become nothing more than a cog in Amazon's overall marketing strategy regardless of whether that has any benefit to you.

    Plenty of stores offer "loss leaders" to get people in the door, but I don't know too many vendors who would willingly take a 50% haircut to be a part of it, no matter what the volume. Guess Amazon views the cost to produce as zero, so 20% is still a profit to the developer.

    If I were producing apps for the Android market I'd sure want to think real hard about Amazon's ability to have so much control over my margins, their ability to instantly marginalize my product to promote their goals, and the "new low" this is setting for revenue sharing.

  7. joejack

    App incompatibility

    App incompatibility is an issue. Amazon, Google, or AppBrain could solve this by giving users an "incompatible with my device" button on the app store's app detail page. The app store app would already know what device it's running on, so no need to enter that. Apps that're heavily downvoted from a particular phone or OS version could have a "YMMV" flag next to the install button for potential users with similar devices.

    Each new version released by the dev gets a clean slate, but prior versions' release notes, stars, and compatibility ratings are accessible via an accordion control. Overall star rating could be skewed to give more weight to the newer releases. Developers could get a report of which devices are causing problems.

    And maybe HTC and Motorola get the same list, so they can see where their bloated customizations are causing problems. FWIW, the iTunes app store is littered with apps that don't work on older iPhones as well, also with no indication.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: App incompatibility

      > giving users an "incompatible with my device" button on the

      > app store's app detail page.

      In my experience developers can be fully aware of device compatibility issues, but with only 325 characters to describe the app, they don't want to waste many of them with a list of phones. Saying "check website for compatibility before purchase" doesn't seem to help - no-one bothers.

      This may improve though, as it's now possible to filter sales based on supported 3d texture formats, and those are quite specific to individual hardware implementations. It's a hack, but it can be used to stop selling to hardware on which it's unlikely to work.

      > the iTunes app store is littered with apps that don't work on older iPhones

      > as well, also with no indication.

      iPhone apps have a set of flags that say what hardware features they need (e.g. OpenGL ES 2.0, which is probably the cause for most of the ones you've encountered). So apps can tell iTunes that they don't work on older phones. HOWEVER, Apple don't allow developers to release updates that reduce the number of devices the app is advertised to run on. So if a developer gets a report that "this doesn't work on my 2007 iPod touch", or if they decide to make an improvement that is not backward compatible, they cannot set the flag to prevent selling to the old device.

  8. bexley


    google should be doing this themselves, the amount of shit on the market hides the good stuff.

    the almost complete lack of filtering makes it impossible to filter out all the shite.

    I'm not a fan of Amazon as a company but if this will allow me to peruse an app store without broken apps, soundbite apps and otherwise pure shite then ok.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Price Fixing?

    So this is interesting, and more complicated than it looks. At the 10,000 foot level the idea is great. The Android Marketplaces is a open sewer. The promise of quality screened apps in conjunction with backing by a titan of the marketplace could drive lots of traffic to developers.

    But they are asking for a huge slice for a middle man. And the terms for unilateral price changes would make the deal a non-starter for me. In addition to bait and switch price changing operations that could collapse a startup or small buisness owners whole revenue stream, Amazon puts itself into the position of being able to undercut the developers other listings for the app. To ensure traffic always flows through them, they can lower their price to be lower then on competing market places. It allows them to use the developers app against not only its creator, but anyone in the same product space. If a second developer tries to sell a competing product they can undercut them with yours, or play both of you against each other even if you are both listed through them. This is a blueprint for anti-competitive behavior. Amazon has total discretion to fix prices on what should be competing products.

    Interesting to see if there are restictions on if/how/when you can pull your work off the market, or exclusivity.

    For me this is a non-starter without the following modifications. 1. I set an absolute minimum for my sell price and and for the amount I am paid. 2. The term and scope must be included when a change is made. If they want to sell 500 copies of my mobile app at 50% of during a four hour time window for example, I would be more receptive than them cutting my possible yearly revenue to 20% of my asking price, permanently. 3. Informed consent and approval of changes to the terms before they take effect effect. It's on online service for mobile developers, they should be able to send me a request and let me approve it, or temporarily sideline my listing if I don't respond in a timely fashion.

    If they are having trouble with the last part I will be glad to write them an app for that...

  10. Joe Harrison

    App store?

    Can someone explain why we need an Android app store? It's not like there is a Windows app store or a Linux app store. What's wrong with you're a developer and you put your app on your website so people can download it?

    1. The Fuzzy Wotnot


      Some people have other stuff to do and don't have time to wate trawling dozens of sites looking for an app that does XYZ?

  11. Adam T

    Not interested

    Amazon wrote us a couple months with an invitation to sign up to this. The terms aren't great and frankly there's enough fragmentation in the market already, and not all Android devices can access "any old" marketplace.

    So Amazon have an Android marketplace. Whoopedoo. I buy books and other things from Amazon that are at a great price: I most definitely don't buy anything with a license from them.

    Anyway, we said "Not today, thank you".

  12. SynicNZ

    plus $99

    You opposition finishes their article with a throwaway sentence of

    'For anyone who joins its Appstore Developer Portal now, Amazon will waive the first year's $99 membership fee'.

    Why the fee. It rather suggests a new Itunes with lockout to other stores

  13. Matt Siddall

    Not sure about this

    Canny people (myself included) will likely go one of two ways. They'll either see the potential reduction in price (and revenue) as a great way to drive extra people to your apps, and thus be happy to sign up (although not necessarily happy about the $99 annual fee) or they'll just work out that if their app that sells for $x on the normal marketplace makes them $0.7x per sale and they want to keep that rate of return, they have to list on amazon for $3.5x.

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