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Comment Don't Read This Post (Score 1) 294

AC has a lot of facts wrong and simply didn't read my post. Please don't read the post I am replying to without reading my post, as my post contains the excerpts from the actual agreement (which Business Insider failed to consider) which you actually need to make an informed decision.

Now for the AC I am replying to:

That this troubles you at all is quite disturbing to me. If this is not illegal, it at least should be. If you don't like the way someone does business, don't do business with them, otherwise put them all on the same playing field. Those that can sell your product for you are working for you, and paying your bills.

Please interpret "troubles me" as "troubles me about doing business with." While I am a free market advocate insofar as I think Amazon, like Apple here, is imposing restrictions on the market which hurt the consumer, what I was expressing was reasons I, and other members of the Slashdot community, may want to stay away from the Amazon market.

The parts you excerpted of my post express exactly what troubles me about them, and you appear to have extrapolated beyond them.

Comment Mod Parent Up (Score 1) 294

Kjella is right! There is ambiguity in the terms concerning what the "list price" is. It says it is either the "the lowest list price or suggested retail price for such App (including any similar edition, version or release) available on any Similar Service or the lowest actual price at which you make such App available for sale through any Similar Service"

IANAL, so I really don't know how the "or" operator will work here. Kjella's suspicion of a legal loop between your contracts and prices with multiple vendors could force you ultimately to list for $0.00, though I doubt this is a deliberate move by Amazon, most likely it is legal incompetence!

Comment Amazon Won't Sell on a Loss (Score 1) 294

Let's not kid ourselves. Amazon will not sell at a loss. I don't care how leet you think their MBAs' customer spreadsheets are, there is no situation they will do this in.

What AC also refuses to acknowledge here, somehow while even discussing a situation where your product gets "bundled," is the possibility that Amazon could determine what fraction of the "bundle" your App is worth.

But let's be real about this: Amazon won't bundle. The language of the agreement makes it hard for them to bundle, unless they are the customer.

Section 5g does say this:

Our Operations. We have sole discretion to determine all features and operations of this
program and to set the retail price and other terms on which we sell Apps

But that isn't enough, though IANAL

Comment Re:Don't Read TFA, Read This Instead (Score 1) 294

TLDR; Amazon prevents you from selling for cheaper on other outlets, or giving away free downloads or FOSS if you want to charge on the Amazon Appstore.

That is very easy to get round: produce an almost identical product that has a different model/version/... number and sell that at a different price.

This trick is played all the time on the high street, shops that say something like:

price match on the same item

often know that they are quite safe since the fridge/hi-fi/camera/... manufacturer produces an item with a unique model number that is only sold to them, in reality it is no different to the model sold next door. OK: only the large chains can do that trick.

I disagree. The liability to the store in your scenario is contingent upon legal action. Even if a customer was angry enough that the store didn't live up to his/her perception of the store's promotion, they would only be subject to the penalties for laws governing wrongful advertising.

In the case of trying to "trick" amazon this way, you've entered a contract with them, and possibly tens of thousands of real dollars are at stake

Also, you should actually read the part of the agreement, which was in my original post. Here it is again, with the important part highlighted.

List Price. The “List Price” for an App is an amount that does not exceed, at any time, the
lowest list price or suggested retail price for such App (including any similar edition, version or release)

I realized my original post was too long already so I avoided pointing out these kinds of things there, but we should all be speculating and researching (if we're that interested) how the courts will define things like "similar edition, version, or release."

Comment Don't Read TFA, Read This Instead (Score 5, Informative) 294

Business Insider and author of TFA, Dan Frommer, got several details wrong.

TLDR; Amazon prevents you from selling for cheaper on other outlets, or giving away free downloads or FOSS if you want to charge on the Amazon Appstore.

(Snipped down.) When developers will be able to set a suggested retail price ('MSRP'). Then Amazon will set the retail price. Developers will get to take home the standard 70% of the app's retail price (what the app sells for) or 20% of the MSRP (what the developer thinks it should sell for), whichever is greater.

What does "MSRP" mean?

In the retail business (that's where the "R" in "MSRP" comes from) retailers make speculations on how many units they can sell at what prices over what period of time, compare to actual or theoretical negotiated bulk prices for purchasing from a manufacturer or wholesaler, and then decide whether or not it meets their profit expectations. It can be a little more complex than this, but this is the gist of it.

Well, the article linked to by Slashdot does not help you find Amazon's justification for using the terms "MSRP" or "SRP." My research, which may be incomplete, indicates that Amazon is not using this term, and rightly so. Here is an excerpt from Amazon's Appstore Distribution Agreement, which you can see in PDF form here (MD5 checksum 15636c42ecfb47dc819445ad3214eac4, just in case they change the file in the future without renaming it.)

Section 2a of Amazon's Appstore Distribution Agreement

For each sale of an App, we will pay you a royalty (“Royalty”) equal to the greater of (i) 70% of the purchase price or (ii) 20% of the List Price.

Ok, so what we're actually dealing with is called a "List Price" in the legal agreement to supply Amazon's new App Store. This is a more correct term, because an MSRP is legally unrelated to the price a retailer secures from their supplier for units of the product. It's clear though that this "List Price" bears legal weight in determining the PPU (price per unit) of the product from the supplier (or, developer, I guess.)

So at this point what we have established is that the "List Price" in fact has no bearing on what the app will be sold for, but is defined to be five times the minimum PPU the developer is paid.

Here is a really important detail that Business Insider and author of TFA, Dan Frommer, glossed over:

..if your app is $10 in the official Android market and $10 in Apple's iPhone app store, but $5 at Amazon's store, it could hurt sales in your other channels where you get more revenue per sale.

Somehow, even managing to discuss the situation in which you set your prices differently for different sales outlets, Business Insider and Dan Frommer miss this juicy tidbit:

Section 5i of Amazon's Appstore Distribution Agreement

The “List Price” for an App is an amount that does not exceed, at any time, the lowest list price or suggested retail price for such App (including any similar edition, version or release) available on any Similar Service or the lowest actual price at which you make such App available for sale through any Similar Service. You will update the List Price for each App as necessary to ensure that it meets the requirements of this section 5i.

"List Price," then, is not simply five times the minimum PPU you wish to be paid (which would effectively allow you to actually set the price you want to sell at, which would be nice) but is in fact a function of what price you are offering, but a function of the price your app is available for at different outlets! This means if your app is on multiple outlets, Amazon takes away your ability to set your price through the List Price, and even takes away your ability to offer a better price at another sales outlet.

This is particularly troubling because it means that you cannot set your price as a function of favoritism. For instance if you had more grievances with Amazon than another market, you cannot favor the market you like more with a better price.

Along that vein, this part that Business Insider was not likely to mention (because Software Freedom doesn't matter to them)

Section 2a of Amazon's Appstore Distribution Agreement

No Royalty is payable for Apps with a List Price of $0.00.


Section 3a of Amazon's Appstore Distribution Agreement

A “Similar Service” is any online distribution
service that makes Apps available for sale or download to end users in the Territory using a mode of distribution similar to
those used by this program, including any mobile or Internetbased application marketing, sales and distribution service.

So, to combine the language in a way that makes this unequivocally clear: "The 'List Price' for an App is an amount that does not exceed, at any time, the lowest price for an App available on any online distribution service that makes Apps available for download."

Given that a future version of Kindle will probably only come with the Amazon Appstore, it was probably a thought that many of us had that we would indulge unconcerned consumers their desire to buy apps from Amazon, and make a profit in the process. Apparently if your App is free to download from anywhere else, or it is free, open source software, Amazon is not going to pay you a dime.

Comment RTFA: Not a major victory -- not a victory at all (Score 4, Informative) 96

I saw this story covered at BoingBoing earlier and I have to say -- has anyone actually read this article?

This is not a major victory. This is a temporary set-back for the record labels who wish for overreaching legal powers to stop the unstoppable.

Here are some very meaningful excerpts from the same story covered by the Irish Times:

"...the judge said laws were not in place in Ireland to enforce disconnections over illegal downloads... this gap in legislation meant Ireland was not complying with European law."

"The judge made it very clear that an injunction would be morally justified but that the Irish legislature had failed in its obligation to confer on the courts the right to grant such injunctions, unlike other EU states."

"Irish Recorded Music Association director-general Dick Doyle said his office would pressure the Government to reform the law in favour of record labels."


Comment Re:Who cares. (Score 2, Interesting) 204

Youtube is pretty much unwatchable now, between the annoying boxes people put on videos to the annoying ads. I may never find out about their new features, because I don't go there anymore.

When YouTube ditches Flash for Javascript and HTML5 video, we'll all be able to hack YouTube with browser add-ons like Greasemonkey to disable the annoying boxes people add to videos when/if we want, or move them so they don't obscure the video.

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