Amazon’s Appstore to Open Internationally This Summer; Will the Fire Follow?

Amazon is getting close to launching its Appstore in Europe later this summer, marking the first time the store will be available outside the U.S., according to sources familiar with the company’s plans.

Timing is a little vague, but from what I’m hearing, the e-commerce giant is expected to announce next week that it will start accepting submissions from developers soon.

Similar to the Apple App Store and Google Play, Amazon’s virtual store allows consumers to download mobile apps to Android phones and tablets. Once available, the Appstore will likely work across most Android devices in Europe, but more interesting to consider is whether the announcement signals that Amazon is preparing to sell the Kindle Fire internationally.

Like the Appstore, the company’s iPad competitor has only been for sale in the U.S.

Sales of the Fire appear to be declining, so opening it up to a larger market makes a lot of sense.

Last month, IDC published research indicating that global Fire shipments had fallen from 4.8 million units in the fourth quarter of 2011 to fewer than 750,000 units last quarter. And, a survey conducted in North America showed that just 8 percent of respondents were interested in purchasing the Fire in the next 90 days.

Amazon does not disclose sales figures for any of its Kindle devices.

Today, has six specific European sites: United Kingdom, Germany, France, Austria, Italy and Spain. Indeed, those markets could provide many new customers for the Fire/Fuego/Feu/Fuoco/Feuer (depending on whether you speak English, Spanish, French, Italian or German, of course).

In addition to more hardware sales, the fresh territory would also fuel app sales for developers. Flurry, which provides analytics software to developers, recently said that Amazon’s in-app payment platform monetizes well but falls short of Apple’s performance.

Amazon launched the Appstore in March 2011, or about eight months before the Kindle Fire went on sale in the U.S.

It’s not clear how fast Amazon would be able to launch the Fire internationally since it will likely have to secure licensing deals for each country with content owners to enable its music and video services to work abroad.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik