App war clouds gather for Google vs. Amazon

by Howard Wolinsky

The mobile apps war is rapidly taking on a new front, and for once, it doesn’t involve Apple (AAPL) or Microsoft (MSFT).

This one pits Google (GOOG) vs. Amazon (AMZN) on Google’s Android platform for app.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos last week officially fired the opening shot in an interview with Consumer Reports when Electronics Editor Paul Reynolds asked him if Amazon would move beyond the Valley of the Kindle e-reader into a multipurpose tablet. All Bezos said was “stay tuned,” but it was enough to set the digital world buzzing with rumors about Amazon planning a full line of tabs,

MG Siegler takes the next step in TechCrunch: “Imagine a 2011 holiday shopping season where Android-crazed consumers hungry for the latest tablets have to pick a side. Do they go with the Google-backed variety (perhaps a Nexus model tablet)? Or do they go with the Amazon-backed variety?

“Even if it doesn’t happen this year, extend the same question into next year. Again, this seems inevitable at this point. There’s a reason why Amazon not only built their own Android-based app store, but is working on deals left and right to get exclusives on apps and pricing.”

Now Amazon aced Android as PopCap Games said it’s giving Amazon Appstore exclusives to its next two Android games, Chuzzle and Plants vs. Zombies, said ReadWriteWeb.com.

“That’s huge. And you can expect more of those types of deals,” said Siegler, who expects Google to fight back in the face of potentially losing ad revenue as well as losing control of its Android platform.

Look for Amazon’s devices to come with its Amazon Appstore pre-installed, reducing customer resistance and raising Google’s hackles. “Amazon needs to make their own devices with a customized version of Android that is centered around their software/experience,” Siegler said. “And they will.”