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Amazon Building Its Own Android App Market? 165

Thinkcloud writes "Speculation abounds that Amazon is planning their own storefront for selling Android apps, one in which they, not the developers, will set the price and decide which apps to feature (and which apps to exclude from the store all together). It's a shrewd move and smart strategy for Amazon, though its impact on app sellers is less certain."
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Amazon Building Its Own Android App Market?

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  • by watanabe ( 27967 ) on Friday October 01, 2010 @10:55AM (#33759032)

    The issue here is not just that Amazon might want its own app store, a reasonable desire. The issue is that the current Android market really sucks. Google does not have good expertise in the curation methods that an appstore needs; right now, you have two options browsing the appstore: you can look at top, all-time sales. Games that have been out for two years top these charts, not surprisingly.

    Or, you can look at the raw feed of 'newest'. In games, that would be 64 underwear puzzle games, three things in Japanese, and a tech demo of rotating lines, controlled by some sensor or other.

    Google's traditional approach to this sort of problem is search, but search does not work well here, and there's significant market opportunity. Hence, Amazon.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by hedwards ( 940851 )
      Ultimately, Google needs to offer up a proper way of search their appstore via a computer and select apps to install that way. They've done a fair job with the handheld, but it's just not that easy to make a screen that small and still have enough room for a proper store.
      • I've used AndroLib [] for this in the past. Not the best, but a bit better at least...
      • This has been my biggest issue as well, there have been some agregate sites that have lists of apps, but it's not that transparent.. if I could search/browse and buy the app on my desktop, then have it download to my phone via wireless/3g/4g, that would be really nice. My biggest like in the G-everything out of the box android experience is managing my contacts via the google voice/mail websites... Yeah, I can add a quick number, or name on the phone.. but I'll flush out contact info etc on my desktop...
      • Ultimately, Google needs to offer up a proper way of search their appstore via a computer and select apps to install that way. They've done a fair job with the handheld, but it's just not that easy to make a screen that small and still have enough room for a proper store.

        They've done an absolutely LOUSY job with the app market. In two buttons (or one popup menu), they could've added ways to sort by popularity, rating, etc. They could've had a "Only display results in my language" function. It would take up the same amount of screen estate as one lousy result, and it'd make the rest of them that much more useful.

        That said, a better market is supposedly coming in a future Android update.

        In the meantime, there are sites like AndroidZoom [] that function the way the market was

    • I'm asking because their terms aren't likely to attract too many top-end developers. Seriously, would you want Amazon to set prices for your product, and tack in DRM?

      That last bit is uglier than the rest - even if you're a big fan of DRM, the fact that Amazon can literally modify your binaries at will (read: potentially break something) is enough by itself to drive off any developer with more than two working neurons.

      Now if Amazon drops those two parts, they'd stand half a chance, IMHO.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Trufagus ( 1803250 )

        I'm hoping they will offer Amazon products and media.

        I'm not really interested in buying Android apps from them but I'll happily buy their books, music, movies, and other merchandise. And when I do I don't want some other company taking a cut or interfering in the process.

        And though I doubt that I would be buying apps from them rather then the Google Market, I wouldn't rule it out.

    • I love this model because if Amazon wants to offer something more appealing for creators and consumers, they'll sell more "stuff" and people will be happier. And if this is popular more merchants will set up something similar.

      This is a good thing. Everybody getting more choices, everybody will make more money.

    • Another way in which Android Market sucks is that it doesn't offer pay apps in all countries. In Sweden where I live it's impossible to download any app that costs more than 0 dollars. This leads to me not being able to use my new expensive smartphone to its full potential.

      There are ways to circumvent this using foreign SIM cards or rooting the phone but that's rather cumbersome and I don't think I should have to do it. Come on Google, I want to pay money. It's the biggest no-brainer I've seen in quite a
      • by hitmark ( 640295 )

        Google today opened up market for more contries, both buyers and sellers.

        What i would like to see tho is for them to seriously cut back, or perhaps make more fine grained, their "google experience" requirements. Right now any device that wants to have market and the google services apps (you cant opt for just market or just a subset of said apps) needs to have (pr android 2.2) a 2 mpix camera, 3 way accelerometer, 3 way compass, gps and bluetooth (no problem with that, as bluetooth have way more utility the

    • by ADRA ( 37398 )

      Search for 'Puzzle' in the market. Some douche uses puzzle as their developer name and apparently Google's search is so bad that it always ranks the developer name first, so you get pages and pages of this idiot's crappy waste of space applications. Yeah, the market is broken.

  • Doesn't make sense.. They have no phone, no tablet/pad/handheld device. Their ebook reader doesn't even run android. If anything, Barnes and Noble would be a better match to merge an ebook/app store within for some apps.. but amazon? Thats just fragmentation for fragmentation sake

    • That's like saying that Amazon doesn't make computers or game consoles so why do they sell video games? They can make money on software sales if their store offers things that the Android app store does not; things like content filters, price filters, a decent popularity ranking system, maybe even lower prices.

    • A wild guess, but maybe they're considering the android OS on kindles.
    • by ADRA ( 37398 )

      Maybe they want to move into LCD tablets to at least have a product on parity with the iPad. If one really wanted eInk they get the standard models. If they want consumption then Amazon has that covered as well. Amazon now sells digital Movies, Music, soon apps, etc... having 'a store' to sell them all on an android device is compelling.

  • I don't think it's fragmentation but this nugget:
    one in which they, not the developers, will set the price and decide which apps to feature
    is a deal killer. No way would anyone I know work on an app and not be able to set the price. That's basically Amazon telling the developer what his/her time is worth.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by hedwards ( 940851 )
      We'll see about that. If Amazon provides a market place where more copies are sold or it's easier for people to find the particular app, the developers may go for it anyways.
      • Is that really how you think people will look for apps they need, by going to the Amazon App store? I know no one who works this way. When I need an app, I hit Google. Any developer worth anything is going to have a product page on the web. They might have a link to Amazon (or wherever) to actually buy the app, but it's just a place to put in my credit card. Why restrict your search to one storefront?

        The fact that Amazon wants to set the price is insane. Even Apple isn't that stupid. Imagine the uproar in t

        • by sycorob ( 180615 )

          I work this way. Amazon's prices are on par with anybody else's, so any more I just go straight to Amazon to search and buy. For big purchases I may price shop elsewhere to be sure, but they've always been dependable. So now I have one place where pretty much all of my purchasing history is, which makes it really easy to do warranty exchanges, etc.

          If Amazon brought a similarly good user experience to an Android App Store (The Amazoid store?) I would jump ship and never look at the crappy Google store again.

        • Exactly. If there were one thing I could explain to Android app developers, its to put a big qrcode link [] to their app's Market entry on their website. That one thing lets me download their app quickly and easily while sitting in front of my PC.

      • Amazon (as opposed to clowns like Verizon) can really bring something to the App market in Android. Amazon know how to sell, distribute, manage payments, provide segmented and curated web fronts, and have a decent forum/review mechanism (including at least one level of meta-review, "real-name", etc).

        Google is an awesome company but they have really bungled the social aspect with quite a few of their services (probably because they fear to assume the big-brother role that Facebook and Amazon don't mind adop

      • by ADRA ( 37398 )

        I can see them using it as a retail market tool, like hey this week apps X,Y,Z are 30% off. Go rush out and get them!!! Type of things that use the power of their marketing channel as a way of enticing sales. Still, I'd like some form of control over the powers that Amazon wields in this way.

    • More importantly... doesn't this come under price fixing?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        No, this is nothing like price fixing. Price fixing is when the majority of sellers of a given product to a certain market agree to set the same price, to artificially control supply and demand.

        It could be price fixing if Amazon and Google where fixing the price between themselves and sell the apps for the same price, regardless of the app developers' wishes.

        (this is horizontal price fixing. There is also vertical, when the producer colludes with the retailers. This also doesn't happen here, and besides it

        • But what of this "List Price" system in the terms? The formula in the leak makes no sense to me, but it looks like Amazon's aim is to prevent developers pricing their apps lower at competing app stores.

          If I could charge what I like when selling my app elsewhere, I wouldn't care what margin Amazon takes. But if they sell the app for $10, and I get $7 back from them, I may want to sell the app for $8 on my own website, so my return is about the same no matter where it is bought. There would be no cross-sub

      • No, this has nothing to do with price fixing. Price fixing would be if Amazon conspired with Apple and the Android market place to set industry prices for smart phone applications.

        Think of this in terms of other industry: Barnes and Noble could freely decide that every book that they sell will cost $50, despite the fact that those books come from a number of different authors. This would not be price fixing, and I imagine that many customers seeking cheaper books would go to stores like Amazon, etc.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Duradin ( 1261418 )

      It's a travesty that stores get to set the prices for anything that they sell! And they get to choose what they sell! In the name of freedom we must force stores to sell what we want them to sell and at the price we want to sell it at!

      • by grub ( 11606 ) *

        The stores set the prices based on demand and what they pay for the item. In this case, it sounds like Amazon is setting the price from the get-go with no developer input.

        On Apple's AppStore you could submit a $999.99 Fart App. They would likely reject it but remember the "I Am Rich" app that did nothing for $1k?
    • Deal killer? I'm not sure. I think the idea is to make the Amazon store a "premium shop" featuring a small number of hand-picked apps of high quality. If Amazon set fair and realistic prices, this can be very attractive for a developer. Especially since you can always sell your app in the regular store if it doesn't pass muster at Amazon. And if it does pass, your app at least won't be rubbing shoulders with dozens of fart apps and hundreds of variations of air traffic/shipyard/train/whatever controlle
    • Some will not, but it depends on how they handle this. If you submit your terribly complex application and Amazon says it's worth $.99, I expect you'll have the option not to list it. If they come anywhere close to your estimated selling price I'd guess you'd be pleased to broaden your reach... especially if Amazons service becomes popular.

      I don't think this discourages development for the platform, so long as you can list the product with Google either way. Exclusivity could prove to be the real deal bre

    • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

      Strange how developers of boxed desktop and notebook software have been happily going with that deal for decades.

      • by grub ( 11606 ) *
        Those people sell to retailers for a price THEY set. The retailers then sell for whatever they want to make in profit.

        Amazon's scheme is to have them set the price for both themselves and the app developer.
        • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

          If you've ever sold to a retailer you'll find that you can try to set any price you want, then the retailer will tell you how much they're willing to pay and you either take it or leave it.

          You can ask Amazon to sell your app for any price you like. Amazon will then tell you what price they're willing to sell it for, and you can take it or leave it.

  • Except, what developer would willingly agree to hand over his product to this kind of a store?
    Is having an app that's featured in a walled garden store where other people have control over your app a desirable thing nowadays?

    In other words : are there programmers who would like to take in the ass from amazon?

  • (disclaimer - I currently don't own an Android device, and don't have access to the store, so this may already exist)

    ... is a community-centric app evaluation system, so that rogue apps can be flagged up and possibly pulled from the store. We keep hearing about how Android apps are apparently harvesting data and shipping it off to some website or another. Or accessing people's phonebooks.

    (yes, yes - I know that people are warned about these things, but a lot of end users are dumb and blinding press "YES" w

  • Google has really had their goggles (or blinders) on about the whole app market.

    While they've managed to create a lot of market momentum behind what is fundamentally a hardware platform, they have been unable to tie that to their software based platform.

    Is this because of their 'open' stance? Perhaps, but that's only going to be able to be discerned over time.

    As hardware has become 'commodotized', so has software, and so too will the 'great' web services like google.

    It's only a matter of time.

  • Is Amazon building it's own Android phone?

  • Amazon is already a major e-retailer, so they have some advantage there. I think the real question is whether they'll add value to the user/customer's app-selection process. yes, Amazon already has some you-may-also-like, and user reviews, but can Google do a better job of mining such data to produce value? Amazon doesn't seem to take this as seriously as Netflicks, for instance. can Google obtain some advantage from, for instance, crash reporting? perhaps they're in a better position to profile, for i

  • by SpectreBlofeld ( 886224 ) on Friday October 01, 2010 @12:52PM (#33761132)

    I don't know. Are they? You tell us...

    How about we post the news article if they announce one? I really hate these speculative 'question' posts.

    New Android phone to have six buttons?
    Display manufacturers to use synthetic sapphire glass?
    Tommy Lee Jones to star in new motion picture?

  • Why can't submissions provide actual sources? In this particular case, we got a link to a blog - which linked to another blog - which linked to a techcrunch article - which linked to another techcrunch article - which linked to a dev mailing list. Would it have been so hard to provide the direct link to at least the techcrunch article which provided far more details than the random blog analysis of the same?
  • I seem to remember discussion about a big problem with the Android Market being that each app seller had to work out the international tax issues for each country they were selling to. If so, that's a huge problem and maybe Amazon has an opening if they take care of all those messy details like Apple does.

Suburbia is where the developer bulldozes out the trees, then names the streets after them. -- Bill Vaughn