Amazon Enters the App Store Jungle

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It's a no-brainer: Amazon will open an Android app-store business. Press reports say the company has already sent welcome kits to tempt some developers.

Their main competition would be Google’s Android market (about 90,000 apps) and others such as AndSpot and SlideMe who already offer an independent Android app store.

Unlike Apple's App Store (with 250,000 apps), Google allows multiple app stores with Android OS. Independent app stores will compete against each other, using distinct search and user interfaces, greater availability, international appeal and better fiscal deals for developers.

Most app developers will sign up to any distribution channel that can increase the visibility (and sales!) of its apps.

Amazon is not yet revealing much, but (unlike many of the new independents) Amazon brings to the table a huge database of existing customers. It's instant success if Amazon controls this first part of its plan: woo the right developers, and control which apps join to ensure Amazon App Store comes out of the start-up box with an attractive offering.

According to reports, developers will have to pay $100 to sign up, just like the Apple app store requires. And they will want developers of paid apps to give Amazon customers the best deal possible. Like Wal-Mart squeezing hardware vendors, Amazon won't let their customers pay suppliers any sort of premium. It's a volume marketplace and the King of Volume wants low prices (or at least the same price as anywhere else, never higher.)

Amazon could bring value-added features already known to Amazon customers: recommendations, wish lists and deals.

You can bet your Kindle that Amazon will need deals with device makers to get its app store into smartphones, tablets and connected TVs.

This could also create a whole new era for smartphones: an era of bloatware like PCs that come bundled with multiple software trials as many emerging app stores "bribe" hardware vendors with promises, visibility, and...yes, even cash.

No one has yet mentioned Amazon Web Services who already offer a cluster computing service to provide high-performance applications for enterprises that don’t want to build their own. So Amazon's own infrastructure folks already know how to deliver apps via cloud. Not a mass market service but Amazon has B2B apps on one side– and a mass market business selling books, software and more on the other.

In between the two, Amazon should manage very well in the App Store business.

Go Amazon to Open App Store

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