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22 March 2011, 16:37

Amazon's Android Appstore is open for business

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Amazon has opened its "Appstore for Android". The new service is currently only accessible from or through a downloadable application available from the store's main page. The service is for customers in the United States only. The store is broken down into over 25 categories including books and comics, city info, entertainment, games, productivity, social networking, utilities and web browsers. There are also "feature views" for best sellers, top rated apps, new releases, free apps and free Amazon apps. Amazon is assisting developers who want to have their applications available on the Appstore through its developer blog which gives advice about how to prepare and market applications on the Appstore.

Amazon is the first major competitor to Google's Market Place as a source of applications. Market Place access has been a key differentiator between Android based devices, though the rules behind how Google chooses which devices get that access has been unclear. Amazon appears to be prepared to allow all comers to buy apps from its Appstore though, which would allow a wide range of Android devices to come with a well known application store app pre-installed.

Bloomberg reports that Apple is unhappy with Amazon's use of the term Appstore because it is so similar to Apple's own App Store which it launched in 2008. The company is taking legal action against Amazon "because it will confuse and mislead customers" into thinking Apple supports or sponsors Amazon's Appstore. Apple has trademarked the App Store name in the US but the trademark has been appealed by Microsoft, owner of the Windows trademark, which is claiming that the term App Store is a generic term, like shoe store or pet store, and cannot therefore make a valid trademark.

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