Amazon War Continues Over Shifty Jelly App: Legal Matters

App developer Shifty Jelly renews Amazon attack

By Michelle Hammond
Friday, 19 August 2011

Australian development firm Shifty Jelly has slammed Amazon over its handling of its app store, just two weeks after criticising the tech giant for giving away free copies of the business app.


Based in South Australia, Shifty Jelly soared to success when it launched its Pocket Weather app for Apple's iOS platform in 2009.


It has since launched other weather-focused applications for both the iOS and Android platforms.


However, the company hit a snag when it launched its Pocket Casts app on Amazon's new Android app store, complaining about poor results from a free promotion Amazon ran in relation to its app.


Now the company has slammed Amazon over the handling of its app store, claiming the platform is plagued by customer service issues.


"The only correspondence we had from them was when we tried to remove our application," the company wrote in a blog post.


Shifty Jelly says that when it asked Amazon to remove Pocket Casts from its app store, Amazon responded by asking the company to also remove the app from any other Android app store that operated in the United States.


"That's right, they responded [by] asking us to remove our application from the Google market, and then they would let us know how they would proceed," Shifty Jelly wrote.


But it seems Amazon hasn't done anything wrong.


According to its developer agreement, if you request that your game or app be removed from Amazon, you are also required to remove it from other markets it is on, including the Android market.


The agreement states: "You will deliver electronically to us, and continue to make available during the term, all versions of all software applications, games or other digital products (including any special or collector's editions) that are designed for the platform, for which you have the rights required under this agreement, and that are the same versions and editions that you or your affiliates make available directly or indirectly to any similar service."


Shifty Jelly says it learnt a valuable lesson as a result of the incident.


"It's a case of read the developer agreement before signing up. Easy to say in retrospect but admit it, how many developers out there read every single one Apple/Google send out to them before clicking 'I Agree'?"


But the debacle didn't end there. When Shifty Jelly asked Amazon to terminate its developer agreement, it received this response:


"Thank you for your email requesting termination of your Amazon Appstore Distribution Agreement. Your account is terminated."


However, Shifty Jelly can still log into Amazon's administration control panel for developers, with the Pocket Casts app listed in a "suppressed" state.


"If that means new people can't buy it but people that have it currently can update to the latest version, then we're all for that," Shifty Jelly says.


"If, on the other hand, it means one day they can just start selling it again, well you'd hope not, but at this stage nothing would surprise us."


Amazon could not be reached for comment.

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