Amazon today released a series of APIs as part of its new Amazon Mobile Payments Service that allow developers to build mobile payments into their applications, and to tie them to Amazon’s 1-Click payment option. For developers this gives them a way to let consumers buy things on their mobile phones without going through an arduous credit card entry process. This is a big move for Amazon as it brings it into direct competition with PayPal’s mobile checkout offering, as well as newer platforms such as iTunes and Google’s Checkout service.
That ease of buying songs, apps or whatever is one of the reasons the iPhone is such a great platform for developers. It enables consumers to easily click and buy an application because it’s integrated with their credit card information on iTunes. Google’s Android platform, because it’s integrated into Google’s Checkout service, offers a similar advantage. Amazon, as a huge Internet retailer, already has millions of customers’ buying credentials stored in its database, so it has the information that will allow it be a real contender.
For the developers and app store creators for the millions of non-iPhone handsets that also aren’t running Android, Amazon’s move opens up a huge opportunity. It also puts Amazon in direct competition with rival eBay’s PayPal service, which launched in 2007. And it offers a way to avoid going through carrier stores (because carriers have access to a customer’s billing information, they can charge users who download apps as well). Such services may prove especially important for app stores associated with handsets and alternative operating systems such as BlackBerry’s App World or the soon-to-be-launched offering for Windows Mobile.
Below is the image from Amazon’s page introducing the service, which shows how it works: