Amazon is starting to actively court the mobile app developer community as it hopes to build out its mobile commerce platform. The Kindle Fire and the upcoming ‘Amazon Phone‘ are the first steps in this new mobile commerce initiative started by the online retailer giant as it hopes to compete against rivals Apple and Google. Amazon has already dedicated a team, led by Aaron Rubenson, to work directly with the developer community to test and market apps on existing Fire devices.
The market for mobile games, mobile apps and digital content is a growing one. Lazard Capital Markets recently reported that this market is expected to grow to $67.4 billion in online revenue by 2015, with digital games alone accounting for $30 billion.
The focus for Amazon is on the development and rollout of mobile games and apps that will work cohesively with the Amazon Appstore, the Amazon MP3 store, Amazon Instant Video and the other products and services in the Amazon ecosystem. Amazon typically takes 30 percent of all app and game revenue, which yields healthier margins than Amazon’s digital media business and even its core online retail operations.
Of course, in order to attract the community of mobile app developers, Amazon has to have a healthy installed user base and a large number of devices out in the wild. But in order to have a large number of people using the Amazon devices, it has to have a large number of apps available in the Amazon Appstore to draw consumers. This ‘chicken and the egg’ problem is the exact same problem that Microsoft faced when it launched the Windows Phone operating system and devices. Microsoft resorted to paying mobile app developers to create Windows Phone versions of popular apps, but that strategy only took them so far. To date they haven’t made significant strides against Apple’s iOS or Google’s Android platform and remain a distant third in the marketplace. Interestingly enough, Amazon this month hired Robert William, a key business executive from Microsoft’s Windows Phone management team, to help lead the mobile developer community outreach effort at Amazon.
Mobile app developers, will you be wooed by Amazon’s efforts?