There's no question that Amazon has Apple in its crosshairs with the introduction of the US$199 Kindle Fire.
However, buried in the description of the also-announced Kindle Touch, $99 with ads or $139 without, is a new feature for the device -- a rebranding of its newspaper and magazine offerings, which used to be broken into two separate parts of the Kindle area of Amazon's site.
"Newsstand: Shop and subscribe to your favorite magazines and newspapers such as Time, Newsweek, and The New Yorker, from Newsstand. New editions are auto-delivered wirelessly direct to your device the second they go on sale."
Does this sound familiar? It should.
"Newsstand: A custom newsstand for all your subscriptions. Read all about it. All in one place. iOS 5 organizes your magazine and newspaper app subscriptions in Newsstand: a folder that lets you access your favorite publications quickly and easily. There's also a new place on the App Store just for newspaper and magazine subscriptions. And you can get to it straight from Newsstand. New purchases go directly to your Newsstand folder. Then, as new issues become available, Newsstand automatically updates them in the background -- complete with the latest covers. It's kind of like having the paper delivered to your front door. Only better."
While the two newsstands will deliver content in somewhat different manners -- standalone app for Apple vs. dumping on main screen for Amazon -- the common name and marketing will probably be enough to bite Apple's crawl and probably the name of the Kindle Touch itself. Will Apple get into a pissing match with Amazon over its newsstand or the Kindle Touch? Well, they're already engaged in one over the use of the word "App Store."
When Apple's injunction against Amazon was denied, the judge agreed that "App Store" is not a generic term, but also stated that Amazon's use did not meet the "likelihood of confusion" threshold required for an immediate injunction. "Newsstand" is a common word first used in 1866 to describe a physical location where newspapers and periodicals are sold. However when it comes to the Internet, it's easy to see Apple arguing that Amazon using "Newsstand," like the term "App Store," will "confuse and mislead customers."
Apple and Amazon's day in court over the use of "App Store" is scheduled for October 2012.