May 24, 2012, 2:04 PM —
Google is known for software, mostly free software. Amazon is known for making convenient, frighteningly so, to purchase nearly anything on the planet with confidence. So when Amazon launched its Amazon Appstore for Android in March 2011, it was a really interesting bit of really unexpected competition: an experienced retail genius leveraing the open nature of Android to make money from app buyers who might like their store better.
Amazon would, in other words, leverage what some call the First-Mover Disadvantage, described as such.
They can, for example, learn from the mistakes and successes of their predecessors, reducing their own investment requirements as well as their risks. In addition, followers can frequently adopt new and more efficient processes and technologies, whereas pioneers often remain entrenched in their original ways of doing things.
But then Amazon launched the Kindle Fire tablet about six months later, and it felt like that entirely Amazon-focused device was the not-well-hidden explanation for why Amazon had launched an Appstore in the first place. Kind of sad, really, because Amazon’s take on selling Android apps has quite a few second-mover merits
Test drive apps before buying, in a browser or a phone
Screenshots are nice, and some apps do a good job of hitting all the essential points in their text descriptions. But if you need to get one particular thing from an app and you’re not sure if it’s there, then having a few hours to mess with the app is just what you need. Apps aren’t cars, but some of them seem to have just as many features and options, and test driving them lets you know exactly what you’re buying.
Amazon gives you the ability to test drive apps: initially in the browser, but now on the phone itself, too. Google’s Play Store has gradually lowered its free refund window, now to a very tight 15 minutes, which has doesn’t always work properly.