Amazon Opens ‘Appstore’ for Android Phones, Apple Sues

Online retailer Inc. (AMZN) has officially entered the mobile app business by announcing the launch of a mobile software “Appstore” on Tuesday for Android smart phones, that takes on both Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Google Inc. (GOOG).

The new app storefront, now live, already has one tech giant grumbling. Apple, facing stiff competition, has brought a lawsuit against Amazon, alleging it owns the rights to the name “Appstore.”

“We’ve asked Amazon not to copy the App Store name because it will confuse and mislead customers,” Apple said in a statement late Monday.

Meanwhile, one has to assume Google is not thrilled to see a new app marketplace that directly rivals the search giant’s own Android Market. However, Google, unlike Apple, created the Android as an open platform so other companies can sell apps for it.

Amazon’s long awaited app distribution center, which the co. initially announced in January, will be accessible at the and through a mobile app. The store will sell several thousand Android apps for tablets and smartphones.

Amazon said it plans to take its store to levels that none have done to date, beginning with offering a paid app for free every day, beginning for a limited time with Angry Birds Rio. The game is being offered as an “exclusive” on Amazon, meaning this is the only store the Android version can be downloaded.

Amazon also said users can test apps on the Web site before buying them.

“Test Drive lets customers truly experience an app before they commit to buying. It is a unique, new way to shop for apps,” says Paul Ryder, VP of electronics for “Our customers have told us that the sheer number of apps available can make it hard to find apps that are high quality and relevant to them. We’ve spent years developing innovative features that help customers discover relevant products. By applying these features – plus new ones like Test Drive – we’re aiming to give customers a refreshing app shopping experience.”

Amazon also plans to use its recommendation algorithm that Amazon uses on its Web site to suggest apps users might like based on things they buy or research in its online stores.

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