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Cheeky Amazon forced into launching new, stripped down Android app

amazon mobile app retailers android
Amazon has been forced to remove its primary app from Google Play, and replace it with an alternative version. The main difference between the two is it’s no longer possible to access Amazon’s own Android Appstore through its app. The new Amazon app, called simply Amazon Shopping, lets you shop from the online store as usual — but nothing else.

Why? The story began back in September, when Amazon updated its Android app in the Google Play Store to include full access to its own application store. It didn’t make much noise about it, but anyone using the app could purchase and download Android apps from Amazon, rather than Google, without visiting the standalone, and side-loaded Amazon Appstore app.

At the end of September, Google changed a key section of its policy, stating apps couldn’t be used to distribute, or facilitate the distribution, of apps or games outside the Play Store. Previously, Google’s rules prohibited alternative app stores only, rather than those which offered such a service amongst other things. A loophole Amazon obviously chose to exploit. Prior to the September update, the policy read as follows:

4.5 Non-Compete. You may not use the Market to distribute or make available any Product whose primary purpose is to facilitate the distribution of software applications and games for use on Android devices outside of the Market.

After the update, it says the following:

4.5 Alternative Stores. You may not use the Store to distribute or make available any Product which has a purpose that facilitates the distribution of software applications and games for use on Android devices outside of the Store.

What’s an Amazon fan who wants to use the Appstore, watch Prime Instant Video, and shop from a single app to do now? The solution is to side-load Amazon’s own, complete app from its website. The app includes all of the above, except you’ll need yet another separate app to view Prime Instant Video, which is only available through Amazon’s own app store.

Amazon provides all the instructions to do this, and it’s relatively simple, but it’s still likely to be an annoyance for many people. It’ll probably frustrate Amazon too, because the more steps people have to follow to use its services, the more will decide not to do so. Google, on the other hand, will be pleased to send a competitor packing.

You can download the new Amazon Shopping app from Google Play here.

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