Amazon.com today quietly launched a new section of its site dedicated to digital downloads of software for Apple Macs, providing new competition for Apple’s own Mac App Store. It’s the latest sign of the escalating rivalry between the companies.
However, Amazon stopped short of calling it an “app store” — choosing the considerably less catchy “Mac Software Downloads” instead. The companies have been battling in court over Amazon’s use of the name “Appstore” for its Android app marketplace, with Apple seeking to assert trademark rights for the phrase.
As noted by ComputerWorld, Amazon’s new Mac software downloads store is starting with considerably fewer apps than the official Mac App Store, but it does offer Microsoft Office for Mac, which has been conspicuously absent from the Apple store, despite the widespread use of the Microsoft applications on Mac.
Apple’s Mac App Store changes up the business model for computer apps by taking a 30 percent cut of revenue, similar to the model for mobile apps.
One down side of Amazon’s approach, as noted by CNet News.com: No central mechanism for automatically updating apps after they’re installed.