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8/25/2009
10:25 PM
Ed Hansberry
Ed Hansberry
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Could Amazon Give Apple App Store A Run For Its Money?

I read an interesting article today on how the recently launched Amazon Wireless store could be effective competition for Apple's App Store. Could Amazon enter the mobile app fray and succeed in similar ways Amazon has with other markets?

I read an interesting article today on how the recently launched Amazon Wireless store could be effective competition for Apple's App Store. Could Amazon enter the mobile app fray and succeed in similar ways Amazon has with other markets?Mark Lowenstein wrote an analysis of Amazon's current strengths and how that can be leveraged to be competitive with the App Store.

Unlike Apple's store, Amazon would be likely to cater to a number of platforms, including the iPhone. This would differ from the platform specific application stores out there for the Blackberry, WebOS, Android and Windows Mobile. While those stores have, or in the case of WinMo, will have, strong ties to the target platform, Amazon would work with as many platforms as they wanted to.

There are other storefronts that cater to multiple platforms. In my July 16 blog on app stores, I called these stores the shopping mall model. Handango is an example of this and Amazon would be one as well. I am not a big fan of these models because unlike a platform based store, it is likely that the end user would have to know about these types of stores and then proceed to download and install the store's shopping software.

Amazon would suffer the same shortcoming. Given their size though, it is at least conceivable that they could get their storefront software preinstalled on the phones they sell, or at the very least, included on a CD or a simple url for the user to enter. They have your email address. They could simply email you a reminder about their store roughly a week after you get the phone. In increasing number of people access their emails on their phones, so a simple tap and boom - Amazon App Store is installed.

Amazon's other benefit over other shopping mall stores is their name. Everyone who knows what the Internet is knows Amazon. They have a global presence unlike few others and their name recognition is the kind most companies would kill for. Tell your mom to install an app from InstallAnApp.com and it is likely she will roll her eyes. Tell her to do the same from Amazon and she will probably start asking more questions about it and give it a shot. She may already have an Amazon account.

Amazon is no newcomer to digital distribution either. They are already king of the ebook stores with the Kindle library and are rapidly becoming a favorite for music sales with their unlocked MP3 files. I also rent movies from their digital library on my TiVo several times a year. All of this with that one all powerful Amazon account.

Check out the rest of the article by Mr. Lowenstein for a number of other reasons why Amazon could be a success here. I hope Amazon proceeds with this, if for no other reason than to keep the platform specific stores honest and competitive.

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