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Software The Courts Apple

Amazon Challenges Apple With Mac App Store 111

Posted by timothy
from the it's-a-wide-river dept.
CWmike writes "Amazon launched a Mac-specific application download store on Thursday that will compete with Apple's nearly five-month-old Mac App Store. The new subsection of Amazon's massive online store, dubbed 'Mac Software Downloads,' kicked off quietly Thursday. Amazon has long offered software downloads for both Windows and Mac customers, but this was the first time that the company called out its Mac-centric 'store.' The retailer, however, apparently did not want to goad Apple into another legal battle by mimicking its rival's 'App Store' moniker: The two companies are already in court over Amazon's 'Appstore for Android,' which Apple claims violates its trademark. Unlike the Mac App Store, which Apple opened in early January, Amazon's includes the popular Office for Mac line from Microsoft."
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Amazon Challenges Apple With Mac App Store

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  • Apple don't need a legal battle, they could just pull the DRM plug.

  • Not an app store (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hackertourist (2202674) <(ln.tensmx) (ta) (tsiruotrekcah)> on Friday May 27, 2011 @08:17AM (#36261436)

    Apple's App Store provides a centralized update mechanism. Amazon's store is just a website.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Um, the lack of that doesn't make it not an app store.

      • Um, the lack of that doesn't make it not an app store.

        Agreed, the centralized billing/account managing system is what makes it a store.

    • Granted, that's a difference that might steer a customer to one or the other store, but they are both software stores. The Mac App Store just offers more ancillary features (automated updating, centralized authentication, easy installation on all of your computers, some amount of vetting, etc.). Some like those features, and others do not. The important thing here is that you now have 2 big vendors (arguably trustworthy) selling mac software through a highly visible virtual storefront. It's a win for co
    • by vawwyakr (1992390)
      Most decent software updates itself now...though I suppose the idea of the app store is that we get crammed with tons and tons of cheap shovelware.
    • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

      "Apple's App Store provides a centralized update mechanism. Amazon's store is just a website."

      Kids, let this be a lesson to you. This is what happens when you give yourself over completely to corporate marketing.

      "Apple's App Store provides a centralized update mechanism. Amazon's store is just a website."

      Stunning.

      • Kids, let this be a lesson to you. This is what happens when you give yourself over completely to corporate marketing.

        The ability to easily update applications from a central mechanism is the one aspect of an app store that is most emphatically NOT a bullshit marketing point, it's a feature as a buyer that I love and a real reason to choose buying software from an online store.

        Now I don't think it's what defines a store either, the Amazon store certainly is an app store... but if I had the choice I'd buy fr

        • Really? If you don't use a piece of software frequently enough that it's automatic update has failed to patch it past beta stage, are you really going to need the latest version when you're traveling? And where do you go that there is no net connection to update said important piece of software in a "OMG I really need $important_software version $latest RIGHT NOW!" moment?
          • Really? If you don't use a piece of software frequently enough that it's automatic update has failed to patch it past beta stage, are you really going to need the latest version when you're traveling?

            Yes, because I tend to use a different set of applications when traveling, and it's annoying to find I could have been using an updated version.

            And where do you go that there is no net connection to update said important piece of software

            Airports and airplanes are the big one of course, but I do some overseas

        • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

          The ability to easily update applications from a central mechanism is the one aspect of an app store that is most emphatically NOT a bullshit marketing point

          In that case, very often it's the updates themselves that are the bullshit.

    • by Hatta (162192)

      It's a store where you buy applications. Hence, "app store".

      • It is a store? really? I have some applications I'd like to sell them. I bet they will turn around and make a killing of them! Wait, whats that? They don't actually buy any apps? How do they stock their store? Oh, you mean they just broker a deal for the dev? Like a Realtor? That would distinctly mean they ARE NOT a store then huh?
  • by synapse7 (1075571)
    What cut does Amazon take? Seems like in this situation Amazon would want to differentiate from Apple if they will have other vendors/apps not found in the Apple app store.
    • The storage and bandwidth obviously aren't free, so they presumably take a nonzero(on average, might be negative on some products, exorbitant on others) cut; but there doesn't appear to be a defined "cut" across the board.

      The main differentiation between Amazon and Apple, in this case, appears to be that Apple has tight integration with the OS and itunes payment system, plus an update mechanism; but demands relatively strict compliance with their standards. Amazon, on the other hand, uses the amazon paym
  • by Kamiza Ikioi (893310) on Friday May 27, 2011 @08:58AM (#36261712) Homepage

    Apple provoked this. Apple released a tablet and is trying to do with books what it did with music via iTunes. Google has also provoked this. Amazon is smart enough to not sit around selling paperbacks to college kids.

    Nobody really thinks about Amazon as a powerhouse. They always look like the underdog. But, they are the undisputed kings of online sales. They may not really know tablets, even though the kindle is wildly successful. They may not know personal computers. But they do know online sales and they definitely know software. Between their search algorithms which are arguably the best ever based on user data and their datacenters, they have an extremely powerful base to move into the Web 3.0 space of SaaS.

    They've been selling online content successfully via the kindle. They understand wireless sync, cloud, and 1-click sales. They also know how to work with publishers on par with Apple's dealings with the music industry. So, rather than bashing them as a late comer, Google and Apple had better show it a little respect. It quite possibly may be the leader in this game. And if Apple ignores their direction and momentum, like RIM ignored Apple for so long, Apple will find itself trapped in an Amazon walled garden.

    If Apple is a design genius, Amazon is a sales & distribution genius. This looks to be a wonderful match up!

    • They've been competing with each other for good while now with iTunes and the Amazon MP3 Store. It's a pretty logical extension of Amazon's business to sell everything online that can be sold online.

    • By "provoked" you mean both companies are launching products and services that they think their customers want, then yes, Amazon and Apple and Google provoked this. Seriously Apple and Amazon have competed with and partner with each other since the beginning. During the holiday season, Amazon's top electronic sellers have been iPods. This next step is just moving the distribution from physical to the internet.
    • by Daetrin (576516)

      Nobody really thinks about Amazon as a powerhouse.

      Seriously? Some of us have been viewing Amazon as a moderately evil powerhouse since the day they got the 1-click patent to stick. The amount of stuff i end up buying from Amazon, even knowing the dangers inherent in that dependency, seriously disturbs me. I try to spread out my shopping to some other stores, but we really need one or two other "sells everything" sites like Amazon so there's some serious competition going on.

      • To most people, if you say "Amazon", all they think is "books". The in-the-know geeks know them for EC2, and understand Amazon has some Skynet master plan going on. But Amazon always seems to look like they are playing nice. They'll make their apps work on everyone elses phones and tablets, and they'll be coy, and not come out with a real color tablet. I think that makes the average person underestimate just what they do. Even their product launches are very low key events, and nobody is screaming "Ooo,

        • by eobanb (823187)

          To most people, if you say "Amazon", all they think is "books"

          This is absolutely not true anymore. In fact I would say it's basically the opposite now: the least tech-savvy people I know are unaware that Amazon used to only sell books.

        • by rjstanford (69735)

          ...they'll be coy, and not come out with a real color tablet. I think that makes the average person underestimate just what they do.

          The odds of them coming out with a non e-ink tablet are pretty long. Part of the draw of the Kindle is the massive battery life; until they can offer that in the same e-ink format, I don't see this happening. The Kindle is focussed on book-reading first instead of second, and it shows, both in good ways and bad.

    • by Ixokai (443555)

      Web 3.0, seriously?

      I mean there's so many sorta absurd little comments in there I can pick out (mixed with a few decent points, I admit), but come on.

      Exactly how is an online store Web 3.0 -- or even vaguely SaaS for that matter? (Not to mention the question, since when was SaaS a "Web 3.0" thing, whatever the hell Web 3.0 is?)

      There's nothing revolutionary or even new here. Amazon always sold mac software. Now they include a mini-portal among the many other mini-portals they have to bring together the mac s

    • by rsborg (111459)

      If Apple is a design genius, Amazon is a sales & distribution genius. This looks to be a wonderful match up!

      Amazon has many many strengths and is a formidable competitor (for such a large company they are very nimble). About the only two larger and nimbler companies are Google and Apple, however.
      Apple is the king of premium. They can sell anything at a premium (see Apple battery charger) and can decommoditize and disinter-mediate nimbly. They are a serial disruptor of markets. Tim Cook also knows a bit about distribution (and beat Dell at their own game).
      Google is the king of free, and owns the bleeding edge.

    • They routinely top pools for the highest customer satisfaction and best customer service. They have a lot of goodwill with people because they do what is needed to make things right for the most part.

      Well that makes their stores attractive. People may say "Well I'd rather buy my stuff from Amazon because I trust them more."

      They are a company to be taken seriously.

    • I'm actually very surprised by how rapid Amazon's uptake has been lately. They've almost brought the price of Kindle down to $100. Then there's Amazon Appstore, something that Android desperately needed - a large app store backed by a major player with some premoderation (so that obvious malware and other similar crap doesn't get in). Then Amazon MP3, which became the first online music store that let me re-download purchased tracks as many times as I want. Now the rumors of upcoming Honeycomb tablets, at p

      • by exomondo (1725132)

        Then there's Amazon Appstore, something that Android desperately needed - a large app store backed by a major player with some premoderation (so that obvious malware and other similar crap doesn't get in).

        I think you're right, that's a MASSIVE boon for Android, and if - as you mention - they come out with a Honeycomb tablet we could see Amazon being the most formidable player - next to Apple - in the tablet and content battle.

  • Good News (Score:2, Interesting)

    by crmarvin42 (652893)
    I find it funny that some think Apple will feel threatened by this. The Mac App Store is a recent addition, before that the vast majority of Apple software was not purchased through Apple. Outside if Apple titles (iWork, iLife, etc.), I've only purchased 3 programs through Apple's website or Mac App Store. The rest are purchased from individual vendor's websites, or someplace like Amazon. As the Mac installed base grows, there will be more than enough sales to go around for both of these stores to exist
    • Who says Apple feels threatened ? Seems to me like Apple's AppStore have already had the beneficial effect of making the competition improve their offerings. A win for consumers and so indirectly for Apple as well.

      • Some of the earlier comments were along the lines that Apple would try to block the site out of fear of competition. See this one for an example here on /. 36261510 [slashdot.org].

        I also saw several "Serves Apple Right" comments on other sites. I think the majority of people will see this as the good sign that it is, but there are always those willing to believe that every corporation is as monopolistic as say MS. Apple makes the lions share of their per user profit when said users buys the machine itself. The soft
    • Apple might not feel threatened by that alone. However, Amazon seems to be testing their defense on several directions at once - there's Amazon Appstore, and then there are the upcoming tablets clearly priced to undercut iPad.

      It'll be interesting to see how this goes in long term.

      • Unfortunately, this particular front in their ongoing competition is VERY one sided. I visited Amazon's Mac software store and it is depressing. 80 to 90% of what they had for sale were "learn a second language" programs. I could see using one or two of them, but the vast majority of what I saw looks like filler, not compelling titles.

        I hope their selection gets better. Competition is always preferable from a consumer perspective.
    • by mick129 (126225)
      This. It took me a while to find the "great, more support for the platform" post, but here it is. If I had mod points, I'd give you one.
  • Amazon not calling the new Mac software store "Mac App Store" was a legal decision not a matter of not goading Apple. While Amazon can make a very good argument that "App Store" is a generic term, there is no way that the Apple trademark for "Mac App Store" would not be upheld by the courts. You an argue either side of the first term (I think it is generic, but there are those who legitimately disagree), but I cannot see how you can argue that people would not expect the "Mac App Store" to be some place to
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      While Amazon can make a very good argument that "App Store" is a generic term, there is no way that the Apple trademark for "Mac App Store" would not be upheld by the courts.

      Has Apple registered a trademark on "Mac App Store"? If not, then the conclusion to which you leap is not foregone. It would depend on whether Apple wins the battle for "App Store".

  • I really applaud this move. So far, Apple hasn't been able to convince well-known houses that the OS X App Store is good for them. Microsoft, Adobe, Parallels, Mozilla, Oracle (for OpenOffice), Google, Skype -- non of them have any stuff in the App Store. They probably expected that the success of the iOS App Store would automatically make the OS X App Store a success, and might not have bothered starting negotiations.

    Here's hoping that Amazon will succeed.

    • I really applaud this move. So far, Apple hasn't been able to convince well-known houses that the OS X App Store is good for them. Microsoft, Adobe, Parallels, Mozilla, Oracle (for OpenOffice), Google, Skype -- non of them have any stuff in the App Store.

      As compared to the Amazon Mac Software Store? Apart from Microsoft Office, you can't download anything you listed from it either.

  • There are just over 200 titles and more than 130 of them are for learning a language. Besides that, the store is US-only.

    The Mac App Store is lame, but this is much much worse.

  • the vast majority of what they currently offer are language learning programs. Something like 70 to 80% of what I saw in their store (and I looked at every single page of it) were language learning software. I'd like to learn another language, but I can't imagine needing more than one or two of them. Especially since a lot of them are duplicates just offered by different companies.

    Hopefully they can flesh out their selection now that the store is getting a little press.
  • (I'm not a lawyer yet, but I'm studying for the New York bar this summer, so that must count for something.)

    Amazon is not using the "App Store" moniker for their mac store because if they do, they may automatically lose standing in the original Android App Store action. Apple has not yet received their temporary restraining order, but if they do, it will automatically apply to Amazon's Mac App Store. At that point Amazon either complies (and rebrands their site - $$) or does not and forfeits standing in th

  • What's the difference between MSFT bundling IE into windows and Apple bundling in their "App Store" into OSX? Could Apple be forced to unbundle their own app store from OSX?

    • by Duradin (1261418)

      Apple doesn't sell OSX on or for any computers but their own.

    • You can buy apps from anywhere, you never have to use the app store if you don't want to.

      Meanwhile in the case of IE, it was used throughout the system in ways you could not easily undo.

      Plus of course there's the whole "Apple is not a monopoly" thing.

      • You didn't have to use IE for web browsing though, I never understood how people got bent out of shape about that. One day I tried firefox, it was better, and that was the end of it. How fucking hard is that? What the fuck is the big deal? What are we going to do next, tell Toyota that they can't bundle steering wheels with their cars, because you should be able to use a Ford one instead? The browser pick list solution is like buying a camry with dodge, chevy, ford, hyundai, nissan and ford steering whe
        • by Ixokai (443555)

          What Microsoft did was not a crime.

          But it also wasn't about users being forced to USE Internet Explorer: it was about Microsoft forcing the OEM vendors-- their real direct customers-- into not including navigator, which they wanted to do or were previously doing. So that when users went to buy a machine, they had no choice but to get a machine with only IE on it.

          They could do that because the OEM's absolutely had to have Windows, or no one would buy their machines. And they couldn't afford to buy Windows at

          • Thanks, I never understood what was going on. That explains how I can buy laptops with Windows on them when the price of the machine is less than the list price for the operating system...
    • by Ixokai (443555)

      What's even kind of similar between MSFT bundling IE into Windows and Apple bundling the App Store?

      Firstly, uh, bundling is fine UNLESS you are a MONOPOLY who are using it as a tactic to push into OTHER MARKETS. Apple isn't a monopoly. (Sorry, "macs" are not a distinct market)

      Secondly, Windows is Microsoft's product, and they were using its monopoly to force vendors selling hardware to not include the then-leading Netscape Navigator, even if customers may have wanted that by the vendor's estimation. That's

  • In the small list of non-language learning software, there are must-have apps such as PowerDirector 9 Deluxe and Sony Vegas, Acid and Sound Forge. Why should we bother when a shop cannot even filter for OSX.

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