Amazon takes on Mac App Store with "Mac Downloads Store"

Amazon logoAmazon quietly launched an extension to its software download store, adding a range of just over 250 software and game titles for Mac OS X. While Amazon has some major titles that haven't yet made it into the Mac App Store, its service doesn't offer all the same conveniences as Apple's.

Among the 51 games and 201 other software titles available at the time of publication, users can find top titles like Microsoft Office, QuickBooks, Photoshop Elements, Toast, Dragon Age Origins, and The Sims 3, none of which are available via the Mac App Store. In fact, much of the productivity and educational software isn't in the Mac App Store, while a quick look through the games shows many of the top titles, like Call of Duty, Borderlands, and Civilization, are.

The discrepancy is due to Apple's requirements for App Store distribution, which includes adhering to strict standards for API use and code signing. Amazon's downloads store simply requires developers to integrate with Amazon's payment system and generate license keys when titles are downloaded.

The upside to Apple's approach is that all the licensing is handled via the iTunes infrastructure, connected to a user's Apple ID. Purchased apps are automatically downloaded and installed to a user's computer, ready to use. Updates are also handled directly via the Mac App Store.

s store, in contrast, simply downloads a standard software installer; it's up to users to install the software and enter license codes. The main benefit to end users is that it uses Amazon's payment system and provides a single source to find and buy the software available instead of searching and using vendors own online purchasing systems. Amazon also stores a copy of any purchases on Amazon Cloud, so you can re-download if needed. Unlike the Mac App Store, however, each software vendor makes its own rules about how many computers on which software can be installed and how many times it can be reinstalled without vendor intervention.

from the operational differences, it's also worth noting that Amazon calls its service "Mac Downloads Store," perhaps to avoid additional conflict with Apple over the term "App Store." Apple is currently suing Amazon for trademark infringement over its Android Appstore. Amazon has argued the term "app store" is too generic, while Apple maintains that it isn't.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: Amazon, Mac OS X

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