Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Application store: OEMs (Handset Manufacturers) vs. Operators ones

I read past week an article saying that application stores will face a risk on destroying its successful proposition in the market, as operators where enabling their own app stores (rumours of imminent launches of Telefonica/o2, Etisalat, Orange or Vodafone among others) and could fragment the market. Ralph de la Vega, CEO of US operator AT&T Mobility, says the existence of too many application stores will add to the technology fragmentation that has traditionally plagued developers trying to adapt or create content and apps for mobile.

Well initially I found the comment intriguing and somehow misleading and make me think who I thought was better position to become the store of choice for the customer: the handset manufacturer of your device today (so and in this order Nokia, Samsung, SE, Apple, RIM) which is closely link to the device OS also (so Android and Windows mobile will have a lot to do to catch up) or the handset manufacturer?

So several questions pop into my head: do you trust more the operator or the OEMs, or even easier who have you stayed longer with and you are less prompt to churn the operator or your device brand? IN 12-18 months after the novelty of being first of the i-phone store dies (but a novelty that accounts for iPhone applications have been downloaded more than 800 million times and there are now more than 25,000 iPhone apps available in the iTunes store)
, will not all app developers want to be distributed in all stores? Will it be a quality differentiator among stores? Will the operator be able to deliver an user experience as good as the i-Phone or Android (G2 as an example)?

Will have to write more on my answers or thoughts.

I leave you with those questions and a couple of good readings, one betting on the OEMs and another white paper betting more on mobile operators (a bit closer to my own opinion)

Extract from the opinion of VisionMobile blog past november

"We expect the most successful MAS solutions to come from handset OEMs, particularly the top-10. OEMs can manage the distribution, provisioning and on-device discovery elements of the recipe, while partnering with billing and retailing vendors to complete the picture. Operators will find it harder to put together successful MAS propositions, as they control a much smaller percentage of the recipe."

Link to vision mobile post of mob apps stores

Extract (conclusion) from surfkitchen white paper:
"...So, while the winners and losers have yet to be determined, it is clear that the next
wave of mobile functionality is here with research firm In-Stat predicting that there
will be more than 100 million app store users by 2014. What’s more, as the
competitive field shapes up with new and established players, mobile operators
realise that they can compete and differentiate their proposition building on
consumer demand for a broad choice of applications and a compelling experience"

Link to download pdf from surfkitchen

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