Mobile Sands

March 9, 2009

Blackberry App World Looks Well Thought Through

Filed under: Android, App Store, iPhone, Smartphones — Tags: , , , — AJ @ 8:58 pm

Recently, RIM disclosed more information about its planned application store, now called “Blackberry App World”. Information on a FAQ posted on RIM’s website shows that its store addresses several shortcomings of Apple’s store and tries to replicate what worked well for Apple. Here are few things that I liked:

  • Leverages Paypal to reduce purchasing friction – Customers with Paypal accounts will not have to go through the hassle of establishing a new account to download their first app. This is similar to Apple’s strategy of leveraging iTunes accounts to reduce friction on its App Store.  However, it remains to be seen if Blackberry will use free apps on its store to drive Paypal sign-ups,  something Apple does.
  • Sets $2.99 as lowest price to entice developers to invest – Blackberry is pushing for higher quality applications because it is unlikely to beat Apple on the sheer number of applications (Apple claims to have over 25,000). Though there is no guarantee that a $2.99 application will necessarily be better than a $0.99 one, it does provide developers with a business case to invest more.  Blackberry users will not lose out on apps are available for $0.99 on App Store because most such apps have free (“ad-supported”) counterparts that will eventually make their way to Blackberry
  • Allows developers to offer “Try and Buy” – Blackberry allows developers to chose if they want customers to try their application before they buy it. This is a better model than Apple’s, where developers who want to encourage trials have to create and distribute a “Lite” version or Android’s where all apps are “try and buy”by default (since they are returnable in 24 hours)
  •  Offers flexible licensing schemes to attract enterprise software vendors- Blackberry allows software vendors to run their own license distribution servers. This enables software vendors to implement pricing schemes in which they sell a pool of software licenses to large corporations.
  • Is customizable per operator – Gives operators (and developers) control over which apps are distributed in which markets.

Blackberry’s policies combined with the fact that it offers a higher revenue share (80%) than all other application stores should win it developer support. Now, Blackberry needs to do three more things to effectively compete against Apple:

  1. Offer a fantastic shopping and usage experience to buyers
  2. Convince operators and developers that it has momentum
  3. Create awareness about the applications available on its platform

Let us wait and see how it goes.

    Advertisements

    February 17, 2009

    Dividing the Mobile Apps Pie – Nokia, Apple, Google, RIM and others

    Filed under: App Store, eBooks, Mobile Apps, New business models, Ovi, Smartphones — Tags: , , — AJ @ 3:45 am

    Dividing the Pie – Ovi Style

    Nokia launched it Ovi mobile application store today.  I read the developer agreement posted on Nokia Ovi’s website.  Like Apple:

    • Nokia is offering developers 70% of the selling price, less applicable taxes.  
    • Nokia has the right to review all applications and decide which applications get published
    • Nokia will not distribute applications that compete with Ovi (so don’t expect an Amazon Kindle store here!)

    Nokia allows “Operator Biling”

    However, unlike Apple, Nokia plans to offer operator billing.  This is a huge differentiator for Nokia and clearly one of the things they are uniquely qualified to do. With this option, customers who do not have credit cards or who have do not want to be bothered with entering their credit card information, can still buy applications. This can significantly increase the market size of apps, particularly in the developing world, and on low/mid-end phones.

    However, from a developer’s standpoint – there is one catch in operator billing. With this option,  a developer does not get 70% of the selling price, but 70% of what the operator gives Nokia.  It allows operators to potentially get a very large cut of the mobile app revenue by mandating operator billing as the only acceptable payment method.  

    Nokia and Apple vs. RIM and Google

    In comparison to Nokia (and Apple),  Android and Blackberry offer more attractive terms – to both operators and developers.

    Palm, Samsung, PocketGear and Handango

    The cut taken by Apple, Nokia, RIM and Google pales when compared to the 50% that Palm is asking. Palm uses PocketGear (previously part of Motricity) to run its app stores.  Since Samsung is using PocketGear as well, I expect them to offer the same deal. 

    Of course, the revenue share offered by all the phone vendors is better than the 70% that Handango charges developers who have sales over a million dollars! 

    Microsoft’s Plan?

    Microsoft  has not  disclosed  how the pie will be shared on Windoes Mobile Marketplace. Going by Microsoft’s record, I would expect their revenue share plan to resember Nokia’s or Apple’s rather than Google’s. 

    And of course, we will just have to wait and see what Vodafone and China Mobile have up their sleeves!

    Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.