Amazon's Android store: Disruptive or just meeting a market need?

Amazon's Android store: Disruptive or just meeting a market need?

Summary: Amazon took its first steps to developing an Android app store and the move is being portrayed as a zero sum effort that will make things potentially more confusing for developers. The reality: Amazon just makes the Android app pie bigger.

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Amazon took its first steps to developing an Android app store and the move is being portrayed as a zero sum effort that will make things potentially more confusing for developers.

TechCrunch sums up Amazon's Android app store as an exercise in fragmentation, curation and recommendations. CNet News' Stephen Shankland notes that Android is "getting a notch more complicated for developers."

In a nutshell, Amazon is now opening its store for developers. You submit applications and Amazon approves them much like Apple does on its App Store. For Android apps, Amazon is a needed entry to the market. Google's Android marketplace is a bit Wild West. Some of us like Wild West. Most of us like a bit of curation. Toss in the fact most of us trust Amazon and it's a good candidate to do the Android app filtering thing. You can have a curated Android marketplace as well as one that will give you everything on the planet. My hunch is we'll buy Android apps from both. This opening screen tells you all you need to know.

Amazon's FAQ is a must read for developers. The key points go like this:

  • The Appstore launches later this year.
  • Android is the primary platform.
  • Amazon will pay developers 70 percent of sales price of app or 20 percent of list price, whichever is higher.
  • Your current Amazon account can get you started.
  • Amazon approves the apps.

Sounds familiar eh? The big question: Is Amazon's entry more disruptive or the equivalent of another retailer setting up shop in the app world? For now, it's the latter. Amazon's move into MP3 downloads was portrayed as Amazon vs. Apple iTunes. We know how that has turned out so far.

Also see: Kindle's Secret Sibling: Amazon's Android Tablet

Few want to believe that Amazon is just cooking up another store. In the Android market game, it's Amazon vs. Google in a death match. And smaller stores like AppBrain, GetJar, MobiHand and SlideMe will be collateral damage.

Puhleeze. There will be enough Android apps to go around (although a few smaller players will die).

I hate to say it, but the more I ponder this Android market place scrum the more I buy Google's company line that Amazon just makes for a bigger app pie. I'd much rather have the death match, but can't argue that case right now.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt addressed the Amazon plans for an Android store on the search giant's last conference call in October. He was asked specifically about the Android market place competition. Schmidt said:

This is one of those sort of worrywart questions that we get all the time, that the success of one thing, could that impinge on something else, and in fact the rising tide lifts all boats.

And I would say that, again, what I hear is this sort of presumption that it's a zero sum game, and that one wins and another one loses. What's really happening is that all of the companies that are driving the web and web applications are all doing really well.

The goal of the stores is to make money for the people who are writing the software and the applications, and it's not a revenue goal for Google. So, there certainly will be multiple stores. There will certainly be the key one from us, and we think it's a net win for everybody. So, but it's not a primary focus on Google from a revenue perspective. It's really for the developers.

Few folks seem to buy that argument from Schmidt, but then again we media types just love zero sum games. It's more drama. The reality is that Android marketplaces sponsored by Amazon and Google could just make the developer revenue pie a bit larger.

Related:

Topics: Mobility, Amazon, Android, Google, Hardware, Mobile OS, Smartphones

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11 comments
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  • I agree, the app store is something that Google could even get out of if

    there are people like Amazon doing if for them.
    DonnieBoy
  • Depending on how many countries it serves, it could surpass Google

    Recently I developed an android application and when I went to register at the google marketplace, I noticed that only a few countries can sell apps, and even buy paid apps. My country is not on the list, so I've gone to alternative app markets.

    If amazon manages to serve more countries than the google app store, it could become THE android market just by virtue of brand recognition.
    hfmeza@...
  • RE: Amazon's Android store: Disruptive or just meeting a market need?

    Ironically, it is the curated and 'controlled' experience that will drive Android forward.
    dave95.
  • RE: Amazon's Android store: Disruptive or just meeting a market need?

    Both.
    james347
  • RE: Amazon's Android store: Disruptive or just meeting a market need?

    Y'know, I'm really starting to hate modern people.

    It's not really personal, just the odor from you needed nanny to change your diapers for you sixteen times a day.

    Screw Amazon and their app store. I don't need THEM to decide whether my application is worthy of release.

    Wtf is wrong with you people, turning to this authoritarian model in every aspect of your lives? Are you so craven and lazy that you'll let the government, businesses, or *anybody* shoulder the burden of making decisions for you, just so long as you don't have to make them?

    Amazon store sounds great.. right up until they started filtering content.

    The App store I want to see is the one that sells CDs or DVDs custom burned with my selection of apps, which they mail to me, and which I then own and can do whatever the hell I want to with. For a one-time purchase.
    hiraghm@...
    • RE: Amazon's Android store: Disruptive or just meeting a market need?

      @hiraghm@... LIKE
      snoop0x7b
    • RE: Amazon's Android store: Disruptive or just meeting a market need?

      @hiraghm@...
      Yeah, but you're assuming that everybody's a tech geek that likes to fiddle with his/her phone.

      That aspect of Android will always be there for you.

      But Jane Soccer Mom, for example, would likely love to hit an Amazon icon on her Droid Whatever from Big Carrier Z and download a cool, new app.
      Theseus
      • RE: Amazon's Android store: Disruptive or just meeting a market need?

        @Theseus Kids love sugar, they would eat it raw day in and day out. Would you feed your kid with refined white sugar?

        ''That aspect of Android will always be there for you''

        Well, look at the PC gaming scene. We got trampled by console ports thanks to the consumerisation of gaming. The same will happen to what was once an elitist market. Dumbing down a platform is a one way road.
        Tommy S.
    • RE: Amazon's Android store: Disruptive or just meeting a market need?

      @hiraghm@... <br><br>Posts like these are very short sighted. Like Theseus said, not everyone is a Tech Geek. I am confident that the majority of the people on zdnet who claim that everyone should know the ins and outs of their computers because they use them everyday, cannot fix their own car, stove, plumbing and electricity.<br><br>I agree that to an extent we have become overly reliant on other entities to provide certain services for us, but you also have to pick your battles. Is an App Store really anywhere near as detrimental, as say, having chemicals in your food that shouldn't be there?<br><br>We may disagree, but I will conclude that this is not a battle that merits huge amounts of vitriol.
      PlayFair
  • RE: Amazon's Android store: Disruptive or just meeting a market need?

    For this to be:
    1. Needed
    2. Disruptive

    They would need to be ubiquitous on android devices, which they're not, and consumers would have to know about it (which they don't) and why they should use it.

    Hate to burst your bubble, but until they have ubiquity or atleast even ONE DEVICE that it ships standard on it can be neither.
    snoop0x7b
  • RE: Amazon's Android store: Disruptive or just meeting a market need?

    Given the power of Apple's App marketplace vs. Google (or any other smartphone app store) I would think if a business arrangement could be made this actually could be the greatest thing for the android marketplace.

    A unified source already experienced in marketing items in this fashion (a la Amazon) somehow coming to a co-op arrangement could act to centralize the fragmenting industry and steer it away from the piecemeal source it is becoming.

    It could also work to solidify one primary player, thus instead of bringing the smaller fragments together it could actually serve to help kill them off and let a primary player or two step to the forefront (making it much easier to rival iOS).
    paul_preib