Amazon joins Apple and Google in reducing its app store discount | GeekComparison

The Amazon Fire HD 8 tablet, which runs Amazon's Fire OS.
Enlarge / The Amazon Fire HD 8 tablet, which runs Amazon’s Fire OS.

Apparently following the lead of Apple and Google, Amazon has announced that it will take a smaller revenue cut from apps developed by teams that make less than $1 million per year from their apps in the Amazon Appstore. The same goes for developers who are brand new to the market.

Amazon’s new program, called the Amazon Appstore Small Business Accelerator Program, will launch in the fourth quarter of this year and will reduce app revenue savings, which were previously 30 percent. (Developers making more than $1 million a year will continue to pay the original rate.) For some, it’s a slightly worse deal than the likes of Apple or Google, and for others it’s better.

Amazon’s new indie-friendly percentage is 20 percent, as opposed to Apple’s and Google’s 15 percent. Amazon is trying to make up for this difference by awarding developers 10 percent of their Appstore revenue in the form of a credit to AWS. For certain developers using AWS, this could mean that Amazon’s effective discount is actually 10 percent, not 15 or 20 percent.

But for some, it amounts to something more like giving the developer a coupon for a purchase of services from Amazon than actually pocketing more money. It leaves small developers who don’t spend a lot of money on Amazon’s services with a worse deal than they would get on Apple’s or Google’s marketplaces.

As with Apple’s program, but not Google’s, the lower rate only applies to developers if they have earned a total of $1 million or less (in this case, the figures reviewed are those from the previous year). If you cross that threshold, developers will pay the older, higher rate all of their earnings. Google, on the other hand, always takes a smaller discount on the first million in any given year and then applies the larger discount to revenue after $1 million, without changing the amount of the first million.

The Amazon Appstore exists primarily as the app store for Amazon’s Android-based Fire OS software that runs on tablets. It is also offered as an alternative App Store for users of other Android based operating systems.

All three companies face varying degrees of scrutiny from the regulatory authorities, and that scrutiny was likely a factor in Apple’s decision to reduce the fees it applies to apps released by small developers on the Apple App Store. Google followed soon after for its Google Play marketplace.

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