On the Subject of the Amazon AppStore

The recent hype and hullaballoo surrounding the Amazon Appstore has made me think. Do I ever really want to post any of my apps there? Short answer: No, never. Here's why.

First of all, I am immediately turned off by the sign up process. It says that initial sign up is free, but then after a year it will automatically charge you $100? I see a few problems with that. One, is there a way to cancel my account? I don't believe there is. I believe that, once you sign up for it, you're going to loose $100 to them per year no matter what you do. And secondly, $100? A person can get on the Android marketplace for $25, and that's a once per lifetime purchase. Simply for the money reasons, I won't be signing up.

Second, what's the real draw behind the Amazon AppStore? It says Amazon on it? That's not enough for me. The Android Market comes preinstalled on every android device that gets made. The Amazon market gets preinstalled on no devices, and can't even work on most AT&T droids. I don't see why, then, I should publish there.

Another problem with the appstore, which is a minor one, is the fact that there is no easy way to remove an app from sale. One has to go through an email channel, and plead to have an app removed from sale. Every other appstore has an easy way to remove it from sale, in most cases just a button. Even the struggling AppWorld has this. Seriously, amazon. Get with it.

Lastly, the free app of the day. This is the thing that's been getting the most negative publicity. Amazon, every day, decides to take one paid app and make it free for every Amazon AppStore customer. As a consumer, this is great. "Free apps!!" everyone says. But from a developer standpoint, this is really scary. Everyone will download your app for free. What if 1,000 people download your $1.99 app? You're out a large sum of money. Why? Amazon doesn't give you anything but free marketing, and no profit as a result of being the free app of the day. As a developer, i have no desire to loose all my possible profit for an app I put time into. No way.

In short, i will never put any of my apps on the Amazon AppStore. I see absolutely no compelling reason to do so, and even more reasons to stay far away.

All for now!

Arthur Rosa is an engineering manager based in Sunnyvale, California.