Amazon Fire Restricts In-App Purchasing

Developers of Android apps for the upcoming Kindle Fire will have to live within Amazon’s more closed idea of the Google mobile operating system.

Early indications are that Amazon will be carefully reviewing the apps that make it onto the Kindle Fire and will also ensure that it gets a piece from any revenue streams that come through the apps. While Fire will be running the Android OS, the Amazon interface will restrict users to apps within the company’s own apps store.

Late last week Amazon issued its first guidelines to developers outlining the process for submitting apps for inclusion in the Kindle Fire catalog.

A key restriction on Fire apps will be an inability to use Google Mobile Services. In particular Amazon is prohibiting app publishers from using Google’s in-app purchasing program. The FAQ states, “Because Google's in-app purchasing technology requires access to Google Mobile Services, it will not work on Kindle Fire. We are working on a solution that will let you sell digital content in your apps using Amazon's merchandising and payments technology. Our solution is currently in Beta and available by invitation only.”

Apparently, Amazon is endeavoring to cut Google out of the monetization loop and insert itself. Exactly how this plays out with in-app advertising is anyone’s guess right now. Conceivably, Amazon could extend its existing Web ad network into apps and the mobile Web via the Fire’s browser. Amazon holds one of the richest troves of behavioral and shopping activity data on users imaginable. Its potential for targeting ads into devices is considerable.

According to the developer, FAQ any app that has already been accepted into Amazon’s current App Store will automatically be reviewed for use on the Fire. Developers whose apps demonstrate problem running on the upcoming device will be notified. Amazon is urging developers to submit new apps as soon as possible in order to make the cut for the Nov. 15 Kindle Fire release. 

When it comes to promotion of apps, Amazon doesn’t seem to be making any promises.

It touts its own powerful content search engine first and foremost as a mode of discovery. The one curated promotion is the “Free App of the Day” that is chosen by the company, and Amazon says can be responsible for up to 75,000 downloads in a day. Developers are invited to submit their app for consideration, but no other marquee marketing opportunities on the Fire are yet mentioned.

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