Nov. 9, 2011 at 8:16 PM ET
Amazon revealed its app lineup for Kindle Fire Wednesday, and it's pretty exciting. Even though the tablet will be a vessel for Amazon's media, the company is promoting competitors such as Netflix, Rhapsody and Pandora, plus a slew of games, in a roster that shows how much Amazon is learning from Apple.
What's surprising at first glance is that many of the apps that will be available to Kindle Fire buyers sound like they would directly compete with Amazon's own offerings. Who would pay for Amazon Prime for streaming video if they already have a Netflix subscription? Why buy songs when you have Pandora? But that's what has made Apple so successful. With the exception of iBooks, which may one day be a success but currently is a bit stalled, Apple's own media sales aren't hurt by the fact that there's a ton of great media apps for iPad. In fact, choice between quality services just makes the platform all the more alluring. (The $199 price tag doesn't hurt either.)
Amazon is also playing Apple in the way it runs its Appstore for Android. Every app goes through a submission process before it can be released. The goal is to keep app quality high, even if it means keeping the quantity of apps down. Amazon is also interested in selling apps, rather than just giving away freebies. Most of Google's Android Market is free stuff, and that tends to make some game developers and content publishers skittish. Amazon is a very attractive alternative for them.
That's why the launch lineup for Kindle Fire apps includes the most popular games from Zynga, EA, Gameloft, PopCap and Rovio, as well as cookbooks and kid's storybooks.
The increased attention to money does have a downside: Some developers have expressed dismay at Amazon's financial agreements, particularly the Free App of the Day, which nets them zero dollars.
Because of this, Amazon is not just an Apple wannabe, but an anti-Google. When Google launched its Honeycomb tablet platform, it had 15 or so native apps, and they're still hard to come by. If anything Kindle Fire is an example of how Android has failed in the tablet space. Everybody wants to consume content, but Amazon, like Apple, knows you have to put it in front of users or they won't know how, or where, to get it.
Amazon didn't put Kindle Fire on Android because it likes Android. Amazon did it because it was the most logical way to build a platform that can compete with the iPad — and leave those other Android tablets in the dust.
More on Kindle Fire from msnbc.com: