Mar. 7, 2011
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Amazon's initial venture into the mobile apps segment is getting stronger, with the company's approach to copy
protection showing exactly how it plans to differentiate itself from Google's Marketplace. But some are now asking,
will it be successful? And others are now saying it might even beat Google at the game. Whatever happens, one thing
is for sure: all eyes are now on Amazon and Google.
Amazon Appstore Digital Rights Management apparently "simplifies life for mobile app developers and wireless users",
but only by virtue of operating on basic principles already made familiar by Google's Licence Verification Library (LVL).
However, just like Google, Amazon is still hoping that mobile applications will tie customers into its cloud for the
long haul. The cloud is what it's all about!
And this is important as Amazon continues migrating away from its bookstore roots towards becoming a main provider of
cloud services, with the application store being
an ideal place to offer your wares.
Just like Google's LVL, Amazon's DRM system requires mobile apps to periodically 'ping' the on-device store application
to ensure that the licence is still valid. And in the same manner, the on-device store will, once in a while, also check in
with the cloud store to ensure that the licence is still valid, and presumably pick up notifications regarding specific
updates and such - the former for re-downloading, the latter for deinstallation.
However, mobile apps acquired through the Amazon Android store, and protected by Amazon's DRM, will only operate as
long as the store is installed. So if one buys a new phone one can install all the purchased applications onto it, as
long as he or she installs the Amazon app store first.
This simply means that anyone who buys an application from Amazon is locked in for the duration - which is exactly
what Amazon wants.
That's the same as Google's Android Marketplace, though as the 'Marketplace comes preinstalled on most Android mobile
handsets, few users ever notice it anyway. When Google reached out and uninstalled rogue applications over the weekend
the association was that Google could remove applications from "Android" when in fact itís the Android Marketplace
application, not the operating system, which does the dirty work. That's not the same at all.
So, Amazon's app store will presumably come with similar abilities, those details have yet to be announced, but the
DRM details show how Amazon sees mobile apps as a method of ensuring cloud loyalty in all its glory.
And of course, that is still dependent on whether app developers will decide to make use of the app-store DRM. There
are other DRM mechanisms available, and neither store mandates their own DRM, but the app-stores make their own DRM
extremely easy to deploy, which makes sense as they have most to gain from its use.
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