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Shifty Jellie discovered that Amazon hates Android developers

The Australian developer Shifty Jellie posted an update yesterday on the conclusion of their saga with Amazon. You probably recall Shifty Jellie  from a few weeks back, when they were complaining about some fundamental problems in the Amazon Appstore.

Today’s update had a couple rather interesting bits of data. Shfty Jellie asked Amazon to remove their app from the Amazon Appstore and guess what Amazon did?

Amazon asked if Shufty Jellie had also removed the app from other Android app store that served the US market. No, that wasn’t a joke; it’s actually written into the developer agreement.

3.a. Delivery Commitment for Apps. You will deliver electronically to us and continue to make available during the Term all versions of all software applications, games or other digital products (including any special or collector’s editions) (i) that are designed for the Platform, (ii) for which you have the rights required under this Agreement, and (iii) that are the same versions and editions (except as otherwise provided in this Agreement) that you or your affiliates make available directly or indirectly to any Similar Service….

Please respond to confirm that your request for app(s) withdrawal is compliant with our policies. Once we hear back from you, we will verify and then let you know how we will proceed.

Shifty Jellie really should have read the contract before they signed it, but would you honestly have  expected that clause to be in there?

But let’s set that aside. The real issue here isn’t that Shifty Jellie didn’t read the contract; it’s the fact that Amazon included the clause at all. This is just the latest way that Amazon have shown that they are incredibly hostile to the developer.

Developers don’t get to write their product description, they don’t get to control (or even set) the price of their apps, and (as Shifty Jellie reported before) developers don’t get diddly from the Daily Free App promotion.

Damn. At this point I have to wonder why anyone would do business with Amazon at all. I had been hoping that the Amazon Appstore would grow into a serious competitor to Google’s Android Market, but I don’t see that happening.

So long as Amazon continues to mistreat developers, they won’t be able to build anything. Frankly, I’m surprised that Amazon have any paid apps given how they mistreat developers.

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personal responsibility August 18, 2011 um 12:25 pm

You’re totally right, the real issue is a contract that favors the entity it was written for, not the fact that people didn’t bother to read a contract they assumed would be profitable.

Richard Adin August 18, 2011 um 12:42 pm

Nate, you wrote: "At this point I have to wonder why anyone would do business with Amazon at all." Amazon is a sneaky company. It currently finds it worthwhile to pretend to be the consumers best friend, but the reality is it is no one’s best friend. Every time you disclose another Amazon shafting, I feel vindicated for refusing to deal with Amazon. I wonder, have you carefully gone through its TOS for Kindles and Kindle books? Since I don’t buy Kindle items, I don’t worry about the TOS but I wouldn’t be surprised if the TOS for consumers had some draconian clauses.

As regards the clause in question, I suspect that it would be found by a court to be unenforceable. You can compel someone to sell to you on the same terms as you sell to others, but you cannot compel someone to sell an item to you. If it were me, I’d tell Amazon to stick it where the sun doesn’t shine.

Nate Hoffelder August 18, 2011 um 12:46 pm

Yes, I’m going to have to admit that you were right on this.

Robert August 18, 2011 um 2:59 pm

This weird detail was fairly widely reported shortly after the Amazon Android app store launched. I’m surprised they weren’t aware of it.

The IGDA issued an advisory about many of the terms in Amazon’s app store agreement back in April, 2011. Conversations around this story at the time included this "you must unpublish from both Amazon and Google Market" caveat…which is a nasty little tidbit.

Nate Hoffelder August 19, 2011 um 12:03 pm

I missed that. Thanks!

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