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Apple sues Amazon for using Appstore

David Ludlow
22 Mar 2011
Apple sues Amazon for using Appstore
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Apparently, this commonly used term is confusing for poor old iPhone users

If anyone was worried that the lawyers of the world weren't earning enough money, don't be: one massive corporation has once again sued another massive corporation.

This time around its Apple suing Amazon of the use of the word 'appstore' in the online retailer's new Amazon Appstore for Android, which is currently only available in the US.

"We've asked Amazon not to copy the APP STORE name because it will confuse and mislead customers," Kristin Hugeut from Apple told Reuters.

Apple has also accused Amazon of unfair competition and of unlawfully using the App Store trademark. This is one case that could rapidly get very complicated, particularly as Apple has only filed the App Store trademark - something that Microsoft has opposed.

The problem with Apple's filing is that 'app' is a commonly-used shortening of 'application' used to describe software available for smartphones and tablets. Store is even more commonly used to describe a shop. It remains to be seen, then, if Apple can successfully trademark the combination of two commonly used terms.

We're also not sure how people would be confused with the term Appstore for Android; surely Apple users can work out that this service really isn't for them.

Regardless of what happens, Amazon's new Appstore looks like an interesting project, which has been attracting new developers with high commissions. It's also the only place to get the new Angry Birds Rio game.

Amazon is also telling developers that applications will be reviewed before going live, which could cut down on some of the recent problems with the official Google Android Market caused by developers simply being able to post apps live. Due to viruses being posted in apps and infecting many handsets, Google has promised to boost Market security.

The flip side of the coin is that another place to get apps means that the Android platform has become less cohesive and could lead to a situation where people have to visit lots of different stores to find the apps that they're interested in. With Android already suffering from customisation that sees loads of handsets running different versions of the OS with different user interfaces, multiple app stores could be the last thing that's needed.

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