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Amazon adds in-app purchasing for kindle and Android apps

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Amazon has added in-app purchasing to its Android AppStore and Kindle platform, stepping up the challenge to Apple and Google, which already support the capability.Developers will now be able to charge for items from within paid-for or free apps – notably digital content and subscriptions, new tips and levels for games, and upgrades from free to paid versions of software.

These tactics are one of the most important drivers of revenue for mobile developers, which often find it hard to charge for their wares upfront, but can drive purchases once a user is hooked on a piece of software.

So the change is important to attract more developers to create offerings specifically for Amazon’s store, and to provide new added value for consumers. There is also a revenue element for Amazon, which takes 30% of the revenues, and which will hope to boost popularity of its Kindle Fire tablet. This has been seen to boost user purchasing from Amazon sites via 1-Click, even of physical goods, because it places the consumer firmly within the Amazon user experience, making them less likely to go to other online stores.

The first headline participants in Amazon’s scheme are Disney, Adobe, Gameloft, Dow Jones and magazine giant Conde Nast. Amazon is only levelling the playing field as in-app purchasing becomes a default option in major app stores – though Windows Phone does not yet support it. But the retailer’s famously smooth and simple processes could give it an advantage, as it harnesses its 1-Click buying system. It needs to boost its numbers in order to make its AppStore the premier Android shopfront rather than Google Play – it currently has about 34,000 apps, up from 4,000 when it opened the store a year ago, but Google and Apple have about 450,000 each.

“With the Amazon Appstore for Android In-App Purchasing solution, you can reach customers with existing accounts who have already bought apps, including millions of Kindle Fire customers,” said the firm on its developer blog. “Our simple, secure, and trusted 1-Click purchase experience is easy for customers to use, increasing conversion rates for purchases within your app. Plus, we designed our in-app purchasing solution to be simple and easy to integrate so you can be up and running quickly.”

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