While Facebook is moving to phase out its Facebook Credits, Amazon.com Inc. announced the launch of Amazon Coins, a virtual currency for spending on its Kindle Fire tablet.

The two currencies look a lot alike. Both are intended for buying digital items online, and both can be purchased in exchange for real-world currencies. Facebook said last year that it would eliminate Credits to instead allow developers of Facebook apps to price virtual items in real currencies. So why would Amazon.com move ahead with such a product when one of its rivals has just thrown in the towel?

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