Hot on the heels of plans for Verizon to create their own market for Android, Amazon.com has decided that they will now create their own app market. Developers reportedly started receiving emails about a business opportunity from Amazon on September 25th. At that time, there were very few details aside from the fact that it was happening. Now, there is a bit more clarity from our friends at TechCrunch:
Okay, some details:
- For each sale of an App, we will pay you a royalty equal to the greater of 70% of the purchase price or 20% of the List Price as of the purchase date (70/30 is standard, this 20/80 split is somewhat odd and confusing)
- The List Price is apparently in place so that you can’t sell your app cheaper on other “similar services” — meaning other app stores, presumably
- The “similar services” should also include the forthcoming Chrome Web Store, if I’m reading this correctly
- There is a $99 fee to be a developer in this program (the same as Apple’s iOS developer program)
- It seems like if your app is available on other platforms, you have to make sure to update it at the same time on Amazon’s store that you do in any other store (this will piss off a lot of developers)
- Apps will have to be laced with Amazon DRM — meaning they will only work on devices they approve (obviously)
- Amazon has the right to pull any app for any reason (obviously)
- Apps can also be shown on amazon.com (this is up to Amazon)
- You can offer free apps
- The app store is U.S.-only (at least for now)
- This part is interesting too: “We have sole discretion to determine all features and operations of this program and to set the retail price and other terms on which we sell Apps.”
As of right now, that's all we know. There are some cool things there in addition to some (seemingly) not so cool things. An interesting tidbit about "list prices" is also present: You can't sell your app for a lower price on other app stores. This makes sense, I guess, but it just wouldn't make logical sense to charge more (and decrease downloads) in the app store that you are paying more to get into. The bit about DRM is pretty unexpected as well. While piracy on Android is a problem, Amazon usually doesn't implement DRM strategies, historically. We'll have to wait for more details to see exactly how this is going to go down, but I'm sure with all this competition for Android app markets, this is going to get interesting really quickly.
This is also coming in at the same time as rumors of yet another tablet running Android being pushed out by Amazon. It can probably be assumed that the two will go hand-in-hand. We can speculate all day long, but without Amazon's official word giving us more info, we can only wait for more details. The tablet is definitely just a rumor at this point, but it would make so much more sense for Amazon to be opening an app store if they had a device they could put it on themselves. Stick around and we'll keep you posted.