Amazon's In-App Purchasing Available to PC, Mac, Web-Based Customers

By Todd R. Weiss  |  Posted 2013-01-22

Amazon's In-App Purchasing Available to PC, Mac, Web-Based Customers

Amazon is making it easier for software developers to sell extra features and services to consumers through their software apps by tying the transactions in with Amazon's established and trusted e-commerce infrastructure.

The move, which was announced Jan. 22, is aimed at helping developers to reach more customers and make more money from their apps through the sales of virtual goods and services in their games and apps, according to Amazon officials.

Previously, customers who used apps from developers for PC, Mac and Web-based systems had to purchase their virtual goods and services through Websites where customers would have to establish new accounts and use credit card numbers in unfamiliar places, which might have deterred some sales.

Under the new arrangement, customers will be able to make their purchases through their games and apps using direct links to their existing and trusted accounts, according to the company.

The in-app payment services through were previously available only to users of Android and Kindle Fire devices to make such purchases.

"With today's announcement, Amazon now provides In-App Purchasing services for Mac, PC and Web, Android and Kindle Fire developers, enabling them to offer Amazon's millions of customers a convenient, trusted and secure buying experience," Amazon officials said in a statement.

Under the expanded program, customers will be able to use any credit card, gift certificate or promotional credit associated with their Amazon account to directly make in-app purchases. The idea is to make it easier for customers to buy from the developers and increase developers' sales.

Through the in-app purchasing process, developers will also be protected by Amazon's fraud detection technology, and all transactions will be supported by Amazon's familiar customer service systems. The in-app items will automatically be available on and will be displayed in best-seller lists, recommendations and merchandising campaigns, according to Amazon.

The goal is to make it as easy for developers to sell their wares on as it is for customers to make their purchases there, Mike Frazzini, director of Amazon Games, said in a statement.

"We're passionate about making game developers successful, and we'll continue to build services that make monetization easier and remove undifferentiated heavy lifting from developers," Frazzini said. "Game developers build games that are used across multiple platforms and mediums. In-App Purchasing for Mac, PC and Web-based games is our latest service that helps game developers grow their business and increase their customer base."

To participate in the program, developers can visit Amazon's in-app Web page.

So far, Amazon's Digital Games store offers more than 3,000 games, including free-to-play and massively multiplayer online games, according to the company. The Amazon Appstore for Android is also available for purchases of apps for devices running the Google mobile OS.

The app store marketplace has been escalating in proportion to the increased sales of Android, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and other mobile and electronic devices.

In a recent study from ABI Research, Apple's App Store won the top rankings for the best and easiest app store for consumers, while Google's Android Play Store came in second. Microsoft's Windows Phone Store ranked third, according to ABI's report, which looked at how app stores implement their offerings to consumers and examined their innovation in presentation and approach.

"In terms of implementation, Apple came first, ahead of Google and RIM," the report said. Apple's "superior performance in this dimension is mainly down to its effective approach to monetization, large market share over the app industry and the ability to achieve a large inventory of titles while maintaining a reasonably strict quality control."

Amazon's In-App Purchasing Available to PC, Mac, Web-Based Customers

But when it comes to innovation, Microsoft narrowly beat Apple, and Google claimed the third spot, according to the report.

Apple has been leading the mobile app store revenue wars for some time. In November 2012, research firm App Annie reported that Apple's App Store revenues for October totaled four times the revenue brought in by Google's Android Play Store for the same period.

At the same time, Google's Play Store was making great progress, according to App Annie, with a huge 311 percent growth rate since January, setting the stage for interesting competition between the two vendors.

App Annie, which has been following the app store marketplace for the past 18 months, reported that it sees Apple and Google ultimately reaching equilibrium at some point in the future.

In its 16-page App Annie Index Report for November, the firm stated that the Play Store catch-up to the Apple App Store is under way. While Google Play paid revenue grew by 311 percent since January, Apple's paid revenue grew by only 12.9 percent, according to the study.

The Google Play Store was only officially created in March 2012 to combine what until then were separate sites where Android lovers could buy their favorite apps, music and ebooks. Before Google Play, users had to shop through the individual Android Market, Google Music and the Google e-Bookstore sites.

In September 2012, Google's Play Store attained an impressive milestone when it reached the 25 billion download mark for content purchased through the store, after only six months of sales.

According to Google, it reached the 1 billion Android app download mark in mid-2010, while it hit the 2 billion app download mark in mid-2011. That number soared to 10 billion by the end of 2011, then to 15 billion in early 2012, before soaring again to 25 million in September.

Apple's App Store just celebrated its fourth birthday in July 2012 and now includes more than 567,000 applications for the iPhone and 236,000 for the iPad as of June. The App Store started with 500 apps in July 2008 when it launched.

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