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Amazon just revealed its own specially curated version of the Android Marketplace, but has chosen to label it the “Appstore.”

Apple, in turn, has now sued Android for trademark violation. The move is a not-so-subtle shot across Amazon’s bows.

The suit was filed last week, but has emerged at more or less the same time as Amazon’s official unveiling Tuesday of its Android Appstore — Amazon’s version of the free-for-all Google Android Marketplace that, on launch, contains 3,800 apps. It will operate under similar constraints, controls and profit sharing with developers as Apple’s version, in the hopes that it will be distinguished from other Android app markets by being “safer” and containing higher quality apps.

But it’s the name Amazon’s chosen (the Amazon Appstore) that’s got Apple rattled. Apple filed a trademark protection over the phrase “App Store” after the release of the iPhone 3G, making what an independent observer may deem a sensible business move — especially since the App Store is now earning Apple a slight profit, and its archive of apps for iPhone and iPad (and now the Mac too) is an incredibly potent advertising lever.


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