Jeff Bezos is a genius. The Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN ) CEO has commissioned a Mac OS software store to keep Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL ) from taking too large a piece of his company's e-commerce business.
Notice I didn't say "app store." A trademark dispute between the two companies has Amazon treading carefully when it comes to how it sells downloadable software. In this case, Amazon calls its Mac-themed digital shelves "Mac Software Downloads."
Yet the similarities are hard to miss. As with Apple's iOS App Store and Mac OS App Store, which will be a fixture in the forthcoming Lion edition of Mac OS X, Amazon's store displays software according to price and popularity. Inventory is where they'll differ.
For example, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT ) is selling the downloadable edition of Mac Office 2011 through Amazon but not the App Store. What gives? License fees would be my guess; Apple takes a 30% cut of all software sold through its App Stores.
We don't yet know what Amazon charges for Mac software sales, but it's a good bet that this is the second major assault on Apple's retail pricing scheme. During its I/O developer conference this month, Google (Nasdaq: GOOG ) announced a 5% license fee for app sales via the Chrome Web Store. Now, Amazon wants its piece.
Investors should be thrilled. Amazon is creating a cohesive strategy to dominate the delivery channel for every type of e-commerce -- both click-to-brick (order online for physical delivery) and click-to-click (order online, receive online). Every type of product is included, even system software. Well done, Mr. Bezos. Very well done.
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