Andrew Savikas at O’Reilly Radar has the details, including an update indicating that the terms and conditions for developers have been leaked. This is far from a total confirmation but lends the notion credibility.
Unlike the iOs App Store, the terms of sale for the Android Market have always been non-exclusive — meaning developers are free to sell their Android apps in other places (we’ve taken advantage of that by including Android apps in many of our ebook bundles on oreilly.com, sold alongside access to PDF, EPUB, Mobipocket, and DAISY formats). Initially I wasn’t clear what Google’s intent was by taking that route, especially since parallel markets of any scale would mean developers needed to agree to terms with multiple marketplaces. But Amazon’s entrance actually makes sense for Google as well as for Amazon and likely for many app sellers.
That non-exclusivity enables this sort of competition, at the level of alternate distribution channels as well as at the individual apps and developers. Savikas suggests Amazon will curate their store more closely but as long as developers can sell their own wares directly or via other markets, I think there is more room for customers to indicate which model they find preferable with how they spend across the different offerings.
If Apple had embraced a similarly non-exclusive arrangement, even without opening up beyond that, I’d be considerably more tolerant of this shenanigans. Sara Perez at ReadWriteWeb has some further details that might give pause and take some of the shine of the idea of Amazon offering a more palatable alternative in this space.
In particular, Amazon will retain the right to add DRM to apps. Granted, anyone who has a problem with that has perfectly legal and viable alternatives, as I’ve noted. This indicates that the new store is as likely to be like the retail giant’s video download service, riddled with restrictions, as it is their MP3 store which is refreshingly enlightened.
Amazon building its own Android App Market? O’Reilly Radar