From the "I really didn't see that coming" files - Amazon is preparing to open an Android App store of its own, one that sounds a lot like Apple's App Store.
Here's the announcement on the Amazon Appstore Developer Blog:
You may have seen the buzz in Android blogs and forums about Amazon doing something… appy! Today Amazon.com launched the Amazon Appstore Developer Portal. You can find the Portal at developer.amazon.com. It is a new self-service tool that allows mobile application developers—Android developers in particular—to join our Appstore Developer Program and submit apps for the upcoming launch of the Amazon Appstore for Android.
The FAQ paints a picture of the Amazon Appstore being remarkably similar in structure to Apple's App Store:
How will customers find my apps on Amazon.com? The Amazon Appstore will be a new category on Amazon.com. Customers will be able to shop for apps both from their PC’s and from their mobile devices. Amazon will market your apps using proven eCommerce and marketing features like search and search refinement, browse, and app recommendations based on customers’ past purchases.
What is the payment structure between Amazon and me? Amazon will pay developers 70% of the sale price of the app or 20% of the list price, whichever is greater.
What does the developer program fee cover? The $99 annual developer program fee covers the application processing and account management for the Appstore developer program. We are currently waiving the program fee for a developer’s first year of the program.
Note: The $99 annual fee will be waived for those signing up now.
Can I list (or post) free apps in the Amazon Appstore? Yes, you are welcome to sell both paid and free apps in the Appstore.
Can I apply DRM to my app? For each app that you submit to the Appstore, you can choose to apply DRM or make your app available without any rights management constraints. If you do choose to apply DRM to one of your apps, you must use the DRM system provided by Amazon through the Amazon Appstore Developer Portal.
There are also content guidelines prohibiting offensive content, pornography, illegal activity, intellectual property infringement, privacy/publicity infringement, and copyright infringement. Again, very much in line with Apple.
I think that this could be interesting. One of the problem with Google's Android Market app store is that it's a mess. Sure, it's better than it used to be, but it's still a Wild West. It's a noisy, overcrowded place, good apps are buried by the crap, and there's high levels of blatant copyright infringement. My guess is that Amazon's Appstore is going to be far better managed, which means it will be easier for Android users to find the high quality apps they are looking for.
This could very well be a game-changer.