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Amazon's Appstore European launch hints at Kindle Fire expansion

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Amazon Kindle Fire

© PA Images / Mark Lennihan/AP

The prospect of Amazon's Kindle Fire tablet expanding beyond the US has increased significantly after the online retailer announced plans to open its Appstore in Europe.

In a press release today, Amazon said that developers can now start submitting apps for its international Appstore, which will launch later in the year, starting in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy and Spain.

Amazon said that it has plans for further global expansion in "the near future".

Following its launch in the US last year alongside the Kindle Fire tablet, the Amazon Appstore now offers tens of thousands of apps and games.

Amazon said that developers are reporting "strong monetisation" on the store, thanks in part to features such as 'one-click purchasing' and 'Test Drive', enabling users to try apps before buying them.

Developers have also benefited from Amazon's introduction of in-app purchasing in April, including some seeing a doubling of revenue.

The prospect of Amazon's app store launching outside of the US raises hopes that the firm is finally ready to roll out international distribution of the Kindle Fire.

The Android-powered, seven-inch screen tablet is heavily reliant on content from the Appstore, such as apps, eBooks, movies and music.

With a cheap price and big library of digital content, the tablet has proved a huge success in the US, regularly topping Amazon.com's bestselling product lists.

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Jim Adkins, the vice president of the Amazon Appstore, offered no comment on speculation about the possible Kindle Fire expansion into Europe.

But he did say that the firm was "thrilled" with the success of its third party developers on the Appstore.

"We're excited to open the door to even more opportunity by expanding app sales outside the US," he said.

"We see tremendous potential for current developers in our distribution programme to grow with the international expansion. We also encourage new developers to join and participate in the platform's growth."

Peter Vesterbacka, the chief marketing officer of Angry Birds maker Rovio, said that the Kindle Fire has been "hugely successful" for the firm's games and titles in America.

"As a strong global brand with an international fan base, we are very excited to expand our offerings to Amazon's customers worldwide," he added.

In the absence of the Kindle Fire, Amazon's Appstore in Europe will offer an alternative to the Google Play market for Android users.

The retail giant has also announced new terms for developers coming into force from July 1, involving them taking 70% of the list price on each paid app sale.

The previous system involved developers taking 70% of the app's sale price, or 20% of the list price, whichever was greater.

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