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App Annie: Amazon Appstore could grow to the size of iTunes

Analytics firm now supplying data for Amazon as it expands to nearly 200 countries

The Amazon Appstore is getting some analytics muscle today, as App Annie announces its product suite for Amazon Appstore developers.

The move comes after Amazon announced the expansion of its Appstore to reach nearly 200 countries worldwide, up from the 7 countries currently served. Amazon appears ready to substantially expand its sales of Android tablets and apps, which could be significant for Android developers.

"The Amazon Appstore has experienced substantial growth since it first launched over two years ago, and we are excited to extend the same set of tools that our users currently rely on for iOS and Google Play to developers who want to capitalize on this promising new market," said Bertrand Schmitt, CEO of App Annie. "While Amazon Appstore is the new kid on the block, we hear great things from developers about their ability to monetize from the store."

GamesIndustry International spoke exclusively with Oliver Lo, the vice president of marketing for App Annie, about bringing analytics to the Amazon Appstore. "As a company we're focused on supporting those stores we think are going to be global successes," said Lo. "We haven't supported every store out there. Having gotten a lot of feedback from our developer community, as well as really analyzing the store from the data we've been collecting for some time, we think Amazon is going to grow to be one of the big global app stores."

Lo noted that monetization has been "pretty high on Amazon, relative to other stores" according to what App Annie has heard from developers. "This could be a big opportunity for developers and we want to make sure that App Annie is with them to support them," Lo said.

Amazon's expansion of the Amazon Appstore comes at an interesting time for the retail giant. Amazon's line of Kindle Fire tablets has been selling well, although Amazon has not released precise sales figures. Rumors have been rampant lately that Amazon is planning to release a smartphone to complement the tablet line. The latest rumor from Bloomberg has Amazon working on a set-top box, with engineers from Logitech who had worked on that company's Google TV box.

Such a set-top box, which Bloomberg supposes might be called 'Kindle TV,' would of course be able to stream Amazon's extensive movie collection in competition with Netflix. It's not a stretch to assume, though, that Amazon would also want to sell movies and music and games on this box. Ouya has shown that an inexpensive Android-based set-top box can perform quite well as a game machine for many mobile games. Amazon's enormous content library and growing number of apps (over 75,000) represents a huge opportunity for sales.

The combination of Amazon's tablet line, a possible smartphone line and an inexpensive set-top box that are all powered by Amazon's vast array of content could represent a serious competitor to Apple and Google. Particularly if Amazon is the first to market with an inexpensive set-top box that provides a huge range of games, which could beat both Apple and Google to a significant market. It might even affect sales of lower end consoles that would be near the same price point.

"We think Amazon is going to grow to be one of the big global app stores"

Oliver Lo

Lo has no knowledge of any specific hardware plans that Amazon may have, but he thinks expanding the hardware line makes sense. "If they do decide to do that it would be a great thing for their store," Lo said. "It makes sense for them to be able to expand the breadth of their store. Obviously that puts them in greater competition with other companies, but it could make sense for them."

Price points are very important internationally, Lo points out, which puts Amazon in a good position for expansion with the low price points of the Kindle Fire line. "Android is growing rapidly in places like Russia, Brazil, China, and India particularly," Lo said. "That's because they've got price points across the whole range, which you don't get with the iPhone." Amazon has a whole range of prices and features in its Kindle Fire line, starting at $150.

"Amazon has been careful to build the right infrastructure before they really fully expand," Lo points out. "Before it was really hard to compare the Amazon Appstore to iOS or Google Play, you could only compare rates. The next six to twelve months will be when analysts, journalists and developers can start to make direct comparisons. Nearly a quarter of our developers already develop for the Amazon Appstore. They tell us 'We already develop for Android, putting the app on the Amazon Appstore is virtually no work at all for us.'"

Can Amazon scale up in the next couple of years to comparable size to Apple's or Google's app stores? "I don't see why not," Lo said. "They've amassed over 75,000 apps in less than two years. In the next couple of years, I don't see why that won't grow meteorically. The great thing about the Amazon Appstore is they have a focus on quality apps and building a great ecosystem."

App Annie Analytics and Store Stats for the Amazon Appstore are available for free here.

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Steve Peterson avatar
Steve Peterson: Steve Peterson has been in the game business for 30 years now as a designer (co-designer of the Champions RPG among others), a marketer (for various software companies) and a lecturer. Follow him on Twitter @20thLevel.
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