With great fanfare and a free Angry Birds download, Amazon opened its Appstore this morning. This is despite a cease-and-desist order and federal trademark lawsuit filed by Apple computer over the use of the name “Appstore.” This is one of multiple lawsuits over the use of the term “app,” all of which could be driving up cost to consumers.
Amazon Appstore opens
The Amazon Appstore, a store for Android applications, opened on Tuesday morning. The store currently provides about 3,200 applications for Android-based phones and tablet computer systems. The Amazon Appstore also offers most applications already available on the Android Marketplace, as well as a few exclusive applications. Most applications on the Amazon Appstore cost between 99 cents and $4.99. Unlike the Android Marketplace, where the developer sets the cost of their program and gets, at times, same day loans if their app does well, Amazon takes the suggestion of the developer into account, but ultimately sets the final price of the product.
Apple files lawsuit over Appstore
Just a few days before Amazon opened its Appstore, Apple filed a trademark infringement lawsuit. The allegation of the lawsuit is that Amazon is violating Apple’s trademark of “App Store.” The lawsuit originally claimed “unspecified damages” for the trademark violation. Amazon apparently ignored the cease-and-desist order by opening the Appstore anyway. This is not the only lawsuit over use of the term “App Store” — Microsoft currently has a pending trademark lawsuit against Apple Computers, claiming that the terms “App” and “App Store” are too generic to be trademarked. These lawsuits are likely to be in litigation for years.
The Appstore lawsuit cost to consumers
The federal trademark infringement lawsuits currently pending are expected to take years. These federal lawsuits are heard in courts that are paid for and operated by taxpayer money — bad credit loans not payday loans given by tax money to the courts and paid back with “court costs” charges. Beyond this “hidden” cost of the lawsuits, the trademark cases also increase the cost to the companies, which is passed on to consumers. The likelihood this will increase the cost of most apps, however, is low. App developers, private or as a part of a larger company, are often willing to develop and release apps for free or for very inexpensive prices. In hopes of garnering subscriptions, advertising views, or simply prestige, the army of app developers could mean that the “App Store” lawsuit could prove to be a financial tempest in a teapot.