Amazon Announces Shutdown of ‘Underground Actually Free’ Program

Amazon is shutting down support for the free app service on its online store. The e-commerce giant is discontinuing “Underground Actually Free” – the program debuted in 2015 as a means to deliver Android apps to users at no cost. The program was pitched as a means for app developers to showcase their software to consumers via Amazon’s online app store at no cost.

The arrangement presented a win-win scenario for the online retailer as well as the app developer. Developers participating in the program could showcase their apps via Amazon’s app store and in return, Amazon would pay royalties to developers based on the time people spent on free apps. Some of the popular offerings of the program include “Goat Simulator”, “Star Wars Rebels: Recon Missions”, and “Office Suite Pro 8.”

App Developers Need to Satisfy Conditions to Qualify for Amazon’s Underground App Store

To qualify for the program, developers needed to have a mobile app available on Google’s Play store or Apple’s app store for purchase, and the apps needed to work on at least one non-Amazon mobile device.

The free app service was launched to reward developers for developing compelling apps and at the same time convince users to download apps from Amazon’s app store. Amazon hoped that users would be lured to its app store as some apps would be available for free that are otherwise available to buy through rivals like Apple or Google.

Current customers of Fire Tablet can continue to use previously installed Underground Apps and will have continued access to Underground Actually Free store. However, access to the Underground store will be restricted to currently supported New Fire tablet devices and not new devices. Amazon will stop accepting submissions for new apps and games on May 31.