A leaked document purportedly details the terms of service for Amazon’s rumored Android app store. If this document is legitimate, it confirms the existence of Amazon’s Android offering and reveals some the restrictive policies that Amazon is putting in place. According to the document, Amazon will be charging developers a $99 yearly registration fee and royalty payments of 70/20 (70% of the purchase or 20% of the list price, whichever is greater at the time of sale). Similar to the Android Market, Amazon will be a partial gatekeeper; retaining the right to test all apps and remove titles if they “adversely affect end users”.
Though those above policies are straightforward, the document has several controversial clauses including a provision for Amazon to add its DRM (and not the developers) to the app to enable the electronic distribution of the application. It also requires the developer to launch his or her app on the Amazon store at the same time and at the same price as other app stores. Not unexpectedly, you also hand over all rights to Amazon to use your app in the promotion of the app store. For curious developers, the remaining details of the terms of service are available below on page 2.
While the legitimacy of this document has not been confirmed, it would take a good deal of effort to change an existing terms of service and insert Amazon into all the proper legalese. You certainly would not write it all from scratch merely for the dubious honor of being the origin of a falsified leak.If we assume this information is correct, then we can put aside the existence of the app store for the time being and begin to focus on the device which will launch this app store. Will we see Amazon on future Android smartphones, on the Google TV, or even Amazon’s rumored in-house tablet?
Though I am not fond of yet another Android app store, I do appreciate the appeal of an Amazon-backed app store and understand their motivation (hint: it’s $$$) to jump on the app store bandwagon. Amazon can attract a plethora of users as new Android owners may prefer to shop for apps from Amazon. The retailer has a robust one-click system and a trusted checkout mechanism which already has the payment information of millions of people.
While I have already handed my life over to Google, the average consumer may be less confident in Google and more hesitant to hand over their sensitive purchasing information to the search giant. In the end, Amazon may easily win over customers but it may have a harder time attracting developers which are a necessary part of any successful app store. Any speculation on the future success of this (or any other) Android Market alternative?