As we reported yesterday, Amazon is launching an app store - imaginatively called Appstore - all of its own. We derived our report from a Bloomberg account, but followed up with questions of our own.
The fact that Amazon Appstore project leader Aaron Rubenson himself followed up so quickly and comprehensively, indicates how seriously Amazon it taking this opportunity. And well it might; there are no dominant third party app stores right now.
Since we wrote the piece, Amazon has revealed some more details, principally via an FAQ on the developer site. As you can see from the Q&A below, Amazon is remaining tight-lipped about the launch date. However mobile advertising company MillennialMedia appears to have let the cat out of the bag in a tweet yesterday that it's launching this month.
So, much of what we were told is already in the public domain in one form or the other. But what we haven't seen reported is the confirmation that Amazon plans to extend the Appstore to platforms other than Android.
Anyway, here's the Q&A with Aaron Rubenson, category leader for the Amazon Appstore. The responses are unedited.
mobile-device.biz: Is Amazon opening an app store?
Aaron Rubenson:Yes, the Amazon Appstore will launch soon. For more details, visit https://developer.amazon.com/welcome.html.
md: Which platforms it will address?
AR: Our goal is to provide a vast selection to customers from multiple operating systems. Although the store will feature Android apps at launch, we will evaluate opportunities to expand our selection on an ongoing basis.
md: When will it launch? Both in the US and the UK?
AR: We are launching soon in the US, however since we are a global business, we look forward to serving the needs of all of our customers worldwide.
md: Why Amazon is doing this?
AR: At Amazon, we start with the customer and work backwards. We are always looking to improve the customer experience. The sheer number of apps available today makes it hard for customers to find high-quality, relevant products. Similarly, developers struggle to get their apps noticed - and we think of developers as customers also. We've spent years developing innovative features that help customers find and discover relevant products from our vast selection, and we're excited to apply those capabilities to the apps market segment.
An Appstore is a logical next step for Amazon. We take mobile shopping very seriously and across the company, and we are working hard to make products and great services available on mobile devices. We continue to innovate the mobile shopping experience with the Amazon Shopping app, Amazon Price Check and the recently launched Windowshop for the iPad. We have numerous Kindle apps. Our subsidiaries like IMDB and Audible also have robust mobile applications.
md: How does Amazon think it will improve on the existing Android market? What advantages it will offer to consumers and developers, and will it also offer free apps?
AR: For the first time, mobile application developers will have access to Amazon's tens of millions of active customers, many of which have mobile devices. Plus, Amazon's proven features like "Customers who viewed this item also viewed" and personalized recommendations will help developers get their apps discovered and in front of the right customers. Nothing beats the convenience of shopping for a new app using your existing Amazon.com account, making it as simple as possible for customers to purchase developer's apps both online and on their mobile devices.
Customers will also discover apps that are relevant to them based on personalized recommendations and customers will have access to convenient and trusted payment options using their Amazon.com account. With mobile space is evolving rapidly, it is definitely possible to find apps that don't work all that well on every phone that's out there. To help ensure our customers have a good experience with the apps they buy from Amazon, we are testing all apps prior to making them available in our store. We expect to have a great selection of both free and paid apps when we launch.