Amazon Launches Android App Store, Apple Sues for Trademark Infringement

amazonThe world’s largest Internet-based commerce company, Amazon Inc., is venturing into unfamiliar territory by launching a new mobile applications store, Amazon Appstore, for Google Android powered devices on Monday.

Amazon Appstore directly competes with Android Marketplace, the native application store for Android powered devices, but currently only has about 4,000 applications in its index, a number that is likely to grow exponentially in the coming weeks.

Users could access Amazon Appstore directly from their PC browser, or from an Android device.

Big name developers like Gameloft and EA Sports have already committed to making popular games available on the new Amazon Appstore.

angry-birds-amazon-appstore

Angry Birds Rio game for Google Android devices available in the Amazon Appstore, and other mobile application stores like the Apple iTunes App Store.

As part of a promotional campaign to market and to encourage Android users to install its applications store, Amazon will offer a daily premium application free of charge for a limited time. Amazon even reached a deal with Rovio Mobile Inc., the developer of the hugely popular Angry Birds game title, to offer the new Angry Birds Rio title on an exclusive basis and free of charge for a limited time.

One of the key differences and advantages of the Amazon Appstore is the Test Drive feature that allows users to try an application for up to thirty minutes before committing to purchase the app. “Test Drive lets customers truly experience an app before they commit to buying. It is a unique, new way to shop for apps,” said Paul Ryder, VP of electronics at Amazon. The feature would definitely be a welcomed one for consumers as many people complain about the poor quality of applications after purchase.

To ensure the quality of the applications store, Amazon manually approves applications, just like Apple does for its iTunes App Store for iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad.

Interestingly, developers cannot set the price of their own applications; rather, they could make a recommendation in their application, but Amazon reserves the right to set its own price. Amazon currently earns 30-percent of sales, with the developer netting 70-percent of revenue.

It is not likely Amazon would be able to launch its app store on any other major mobile platform, like iOS, simply because they are closed systems and not open as is Google Android.

The Amazon App Store is currently available only to U.S. customers; Amazon plans to expand the store to additional markets in the coming weeks.

Following the launch of the Amazon Appstore, the world’s most valuable technology company, Apple Inc., filed a trademark suit against Amazon in a California federal court (case number 11-1327) on March 18, just a single business day before Amazon launched its app store.

Apple claims in the suit that Amazon infringes on the “App Store” trademark it holds, which would confuse consumers with its own iOS App Store.

The complaint read, “Amazon has unlawfully used the App Store mark to solicit software developers throughout the U.S,”

Other companies, including Microsoft, have complained to the U.S. Patent Office seeking a review of the “App Store” trademark arguing the word is simply too generic today. Apple first applied for the trademark in 2008.

Both Amazon and Apple declined at our request for comment.


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Hercules holds a B.Comm Finance from Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) level 3 candidate. He was previously a contributor at FiLife, a finance website owned by Dow Jones and IAC. Write to hercules@business2press.com
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