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What is your preferred alternative?

Anyone who wants to install a non-Play Store app, can. If you're someone looking at a piece of software on the internet, the application's website can easily offer you instructions on how to download and install their software. This is exactly how Windows has always operated.

A perfect example of this working well on Android is the Amazon Appstore. Disregarding for a second the meta-ness of it being another app market, they do a great job of explaining to the average user how to download their software (by pushing it to them through email, text, etc.), "allow non-Market applications" and install the APK. Sure, not every user is capable of doing this, but I think anyone who has helped non-technical family can attest to the fact that the same is true on Windows.

Please note that I didn't say "Play", I said "app store" and my parent said "app store equivalent". Amazon Appstore falls under both umbrellas.

True, but I think you're missing the point that competition between app stores can mitigate the worst aspects of the app store model.

That is a very valid point, but it is not the point that was brought up in this thread.

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