Another Step For Kindle Fire Abroad? Amazon Opens International Appstore Portal, Improves Distribution Terms

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Good news for those of you who live outside the U.S. and have been waiting for Amazon to take more of its mobile products outside its home market. Amazon today officially opened its Appstore to international apps — its first move outside the U.S. for  the applications storefront, which launched in the U.S. last year. Developers from the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain are now being invited to submit apps to the store, with others coming to the party in the “near future,” according to a statement from the company — although one URL I’ve just tried, www.amazon.co.uk/appstore, still is not working, so still a ways to go before consumers can access the store. The move is another piece in the puzzle that will enable Amazon to begin selling its Kindle Fire tablet in markets outside the U.S.

At the same time, the company made another move to sweeten the deal with developers: it has announced some changes to its distribution terms, giving better control to developers for when their apps can be distributed on the Appstore after submission. It is also from today simplifying the revenue share for apps with a straight 70/30 split for revenues from apps, regardless of whether they are paid apps or free selling content via in-app purchases (paid apps used to have two levels of commission: either 70 percent of the app’s sales price or 20 percent of list price, whichever was greater).

Amazon did not provide a specific update on the number of apps in the storefront but noted that Appstore now has “tens of thousands” of apps. The company has more recently been developing a bigger range of options for developers incorporate paid elements into the apps, with in-app purchasing and a try-before-you-buy feature, which Amazon calls Test Drive. Amazon says that since introducing those in-app purchasing into apps earlier this year, some developers have seen their revenues double.

“Some developers have seen revenue double since the launch of In-App Purchasing,” said Jim Adkins, Vice President of the Amazon Appstore, in a statement. “We’re excited to open the door to even more opportunity by expanding app sales outside the U.S. We see tremendous potential for current developers in our distribution program to grow with the international expansion. We also encourage new developers to join and participate in the platform’s growth.”

Developers interested can go to the Amazon Mobile App Distribution Portal to register.

Charging and distribution. The other changes, which apply to all developers on the Appstore (U.S. or otherwise) are aimed at making app purchases a little more simplified, and brings Amazon in line with how Apple and Google charge for apps. In the wake of introducing in-app purchasing in April, Amazon is now letting developers earn 70 percent of the list price on each paid app sale. “This is a change from the prior terms under which developers earned either 70 percent of the app’s sales price or 20 percent of list price (whichever was greater),” Amazon writes.

Developers can review the full agreement by visiting the Amazon Mobile App Distribution Portal now.