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Amazon to Devs: =P

So Amazon has been working on their own Android market. That pisses me off on its own but get this, Amazon, not the developers, will set the prices for apps on their market. Developers upon submission may declare an MSRP to Amazon, so long as it is equal or no greater than the price of that app on any other market, though Amazon and their algorithms or whatever method they use to set prices may not take that number into consideration for the pricing, just for the payout.

So Amazon sets the price of each app under their discretion with that ceiling and the developer gets either the usual 70% cut of sales or 20% of what the developer suggested to Amazon where to price it, whichever is greater. To let Business Insider break it down for you:

So if your $10 app is sold for $10, you get $7. If it’s sold for $5, you get $3.50. But if it’s sold for $1 or free, you’re at least guaranteed $2, or 20% of your $10 MSRP.

The only potential upside to this for developers is that Amazon might know better than developers how to price their applications to make the most revenue. However, it’s one big liberty denied to developers, especially those who put their apps on other markets, either Google’s or those of other platforms.

If you’re selling a SMS-triggered fart app for $3 on the Android market, then you submit it to Amazon and they price it at fifty cents — and they have every incentive to do that if they want to prioritize attracting buyers to migrate to their market — your fart app’s sales on the official market may slow down leaving you, if Amazon’s thing catches on, stranded with that fifty cent price which could both undercut your regular sales and make less revenue than you are on the Amazon market and the Android market combined.

For that overclocking article I recently did with a benchmark screenshot I had to get the “advanced” version of it which for whatever reason is only available on some random third party market. Took me a half hour to register an account, fail to connect it to my Paypal account, try to add my debit card, have to find out that they put a 54 cent charge on it in order to confirm the card (hey, at least Paypal pays you to do that), mess around with an application to use that market on the phone, connect it to the account I registered, etc etc – a real pain in the balls.

I’m not saying that Amazon can’t streamline the process, but I’m hoping that based on my experience, and I would have given up long before if I weren’t writing an article centered around benchmarking, no way I would have done that crap. I’m hoping that between weird decisions that won’t go over smoothly with developers like this one and that everyone else is simply too lazy to make their way onto some other app market when there’s less and less of incentive as Google improves its own app, I’m banking on that to keep these third party markets, like Verizon’s, effectively suppressed from getting big.

Why do I care? I don’t know, but as a Google kool-aid drinker the whole thing, along with for example Samsung loading Bing onto some Android phones, it just rubs me the wrong way. Also it sounds like Amazon is throwing developers under the bus in a greater effort to attract buyers, setting a price ceiling and giving themselves the ability to undercut the competition (which I’m pretty sure is what a lot of this is about, not because they are looking out for the developers with their marketing skills). That ain’t cool.

If any Amazon higher ups are reading this, would you please just call the whole thing off as a favor to me? In exchange I’ll plug your MP3 store if you knock it off with the stupid alternative app markets. That’s a good deal right there, we get crazy traffic.

Doug Simmons