Nov 13, 2009

Windows Mobe Marketplace sets its stall out • The Register

More on the Mobile apps store front....

And Windows Phone applications are worth a little more: Handango noted in its last YardStick that while it was now selling more Blackberry applications by volume, Windows Mobile is where the profit comes in. The average price of a Windows Mobile Phone application is more than $20, making development worthwhile and profits possible. Just not for Microsoft. At least, not yet.

So as a mobile phone app vendor do you go for volume or hope that users really want to buy the app? I know I'd rather go for volume. iPhone apps average $.99 price, something I as a consumer find easy to spend on an app even if I stop using it after a month. If an app cost $20 I'd think really hard about if I wanted it, even if I could write it off.

Windows Mobe Marketplace sets its stall out • The Register


belgort said...

Would love to hear your thoughts on having a Lotus Notes app store.

Karen Hobert said...

@Bruce - I believe there is a model for apps stores for non-mobile platforms. It's a cool new fad that hopefully will become a standard for distributing applications that work on different platforms.

The issue of distributing after-market applications isn't new. I remember years ago (talking pre-HTTPS circa 1995) what it took my small company to sell and distribute an application. I'm not fully convinced the research and effort was worth our time, but I did learn a lot about commerce. It sure would have been nice to have a place where we could have easily distributed and charged customers for the product.

An apps store isn't particularly new, per se, like any other online store it's about making the buying and selling of goods easier, just that it's dedicated to applications. The Apple Store is just a specialty store for iPhone apps.

Where the rubber meets the road with specialty app stores is who's running the store. Of course anyone can open a specialty apps store but there is cache if the store is run or endorsed by the platform vendor. That might be a big request for some software vendors who might not regard an after-market distribution channel as a value-add. Yes, the app store supports all the motherhood and apple pie notions of adoption, awareness, and improved customer experiences but the vendor may not see it as more a pain in the backside.

Vendors like to (and should) have control over, or at least some distance, from the liability of distributing third party developed tools. That's not to say vendors aren't getting into the app store business, they are just doing it cautiously. The Apple Store includes an implicit Apple endorsement of the app. Apple's peace of mind and limited liability is mitigated through a sometimes draconian approval process that has been met with developer backlash and some public face egging. But, hey it's Apple's store, they can make the rules they want. For all those rogue iPhone app developers there are always the indy sites like Apptism (

By contrast, Microsoft is staying out of the money side of the apps distribution business taking the open source "swim at your own risk" approach by recently opening it's CodePlex Community ( - not to be confused with the former SharePoint CodePlex site.

As far as a Lotus Notes app store, why not? The question will be if it's IBM backed or not.

Jamie Lewis, CEO of Burton Group, put it eloquently in a recent Facebook post:

"Success on the scale that Apple has achieved with the iPhone inevitably creates a group of disgruntled people. And there is a fair share of melodrama associated with some of these announcements. But the "gatekeeper" function is not without its problems and concerns. I agree with Jeff Lamarche's [link below] assertion that Apple probably doesn't like the gatekeeper function either, but basically had to do it to manage its own risks. If you're a developer, it's all food for thought."

Jamie also provided a series of links that are good reading:

Start here, with the defection of Joe Hewitt, who built the FaceBook app for iPhone:

Then read this interesting and opposing view of that incident from Jeff Lamarche:

And then there's the Rogue Amoeba announcement today (which is a link Scott Lemon shared):

And Jeff Lamarche's response to that announcement:

And for kicks, one of the links Scott Lemon that shared, which covers an app that was rejected for political charactitures:

Karen Hobert said...

Follow up on vendor managed application stores. At the Microsoft PDC conference I learned about Microsoft's new app & professional services marketplace called Pinpoint ( So in addition to the CodePlex community Microsoft has an on-line store for partners and developers to showcase applications. Presently it only is a showcase where developers publish links to their sites, trials, demos and downloads. The Microsoft Pinpoint team assures me there will be adding commerce capabilities including payment processing, file downloading, and CRM tools.

As far as the issue of vendor liability protection, Microsoft said they review and qualify solutions before allowing them to be posted to the public.