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A glimpse at Amazon's app store

Price divergence and exclusive deals

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Bored bloggers at a German website tried typing the expected address of Amazon's forthcoming app store, and were rewarded with a glimpse of the initial stock and pricing.

The site has disappeared now, and Amazon's service isn't expected to launch until later this month, but Android News managed to grab screenshots of the store showing 48 applications, many priced to undercut Google's Android Marketplace, and two that appear to be exclusive to the Amazon store.

"Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare: Force Recon" and "3D Spider Walk" both appear to be exclusive, at $2.99 and $0.49 respectively, but we won't be able to say for certain until the store opens. But more interesting is how Amazon has exploited its ability to tweak the prices to create loss-leading lines.

Android News has a breakdown, comparing the prices of applications common between the stores and showing that Amazon has cut the price of eight applications, by an average of around 50 cents, while increasing the price of three – but only by five cents. That's only in the 48 applications that were listed on the proto-store, which probably includes a greater proportion of modified pricing than the whole catalogue.

But it is indicative of how important Amazon thinks price will be, already evidenced by terms and conditions that permit the would-be Marketplace competitor to vary prices without negotiating with the application publisher. That policy is proving controversial with publishers, but does provide Amazon with a differentiator for its offering.

Attracting defections from Google's Marketplace isn't Amazon's main focus: there's a much bigger opportunity in those who've never downloaded an application before, so a handful of loss leaders is probably all Amazon needs to appear competitive, while assuring new customers that Amazon is the only store they'll ever need. ®

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