Amazon has launched its Appstore Developer Program and is waiving the $99 annual fee for developers who join now - which seems fair as the Appstore isn't yet open. When it does, later this year; it will start by selling apps for Android devices.
Amazon's Appstore Developer program will let developers sell their mobile device apps on Amazon.com.
According to the program's faq page:
By joining the program, you'll be able to market your apps to tens of millions of Amazon customers using Amazon's proven marketing features and manage your apps using convenient self-service account management tools.
Amazon will pay developers 70% of the sale price of the app or 20% of the list price, whichever is greater and you can also list free apps. This pricing model is different to other app stores but in line with Amazon's approach. You set a price but Amazon might well offer the app for less and its the discounted price that you get the 70% of.
Amazon levies a $99 annual developer program fee, which covers the application processing and account management for the Appstore developer program. This is currently being waived for a developer's first year of the program and the sign up process doesn't even ask you to enter financial details - although these are needed before any payments due to you can be paid.
So do we need another app store? In particular do we need another Android app store?
Amazon has an undeniably big user base and so this is not an app store in the back of beyond - people will visit it. Amazon also plans to take careful control over what is listed. This means that users might well come to trust it and rely on it for quality apps. However Amazon hasn't really had a good track record for keeping the quality of other self publish products high - the Kindle book store is full of very low quality publications mixed with the good stuff. Google does check apps but only after publication. Amazon promises to check them before they appear. If they can enforce quality then it is to everyone's benefit. The approval procedure will also be reasonably transparent with the apps progress being visible on a dashboard. There is a set of guidelines that you can use to work out if your app is likely to be accepted.
Perhaps the biggest advantage the Amazon app store has is its payment system. Amazon customers are mostly happy about buying things from Amazon and keep their credit card details stored ready to go with a single click to purchase. They are used to the idea that Amazon protects them. What this means is that the Amazon app store not only has a good user base but that user base has been trained to buy things with confidence. Add to this the fact that Amazon operates in a wide range ot territories and you have a lucrative potential market. To begin with the app store will only function in the US - but surely this will change once the beta phase is completed.
So yes - Amazon Android App store is potentially an especially welcome development. Let's hope that the rumours of an Amazon branded Android tablet for the near future also turn out to be true.
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