When Amazon updated its primary Android app with an "Apps & Games" section, it was a milestone in third-party distribution: Finally, you could access Amazon's library of applications without sidestepping Google Play. It didn't last long -- Amazon's app store mysteriously disappeared from Google Play this week. Well sort of. The URL for the Amazon app's product page is still active, but it's no longer searchable from within Google Play. Why the sudden return to the status quo? It's exactly what you'd expect: Google didn't like facing competition from within its own app store.
Amazon contests that its updated app is still the best way to experience its marketplace on Android, but said in an official statement that it had to be removed following an update to Google's Developer Distribution Agreement. Android Police dug up the specific wording and found that the agreement now bars any app that "facilitates the distribution of software applications and games for use on Android devices outside of the Store." Previous versions of the distribution rules only banned apps whose "primary purpose" was app distribution -- the loophole that allowed Amazon to put its app store on Google Play in the first place. In response, Amazon is releasing a new Amazon Shopping app to Google Play without access to its own app library. Want the complete, integrated experience instead? You'll have to download it from Amazon's website, just like before.