Carriers no longer dominate the mobile world thanks to the emergence of Apple, Google and the rise of third-party app stores. But they can retain — or even increase — their relevance by pursuing and executing a few important strategies.
Mobile malware has become a very real threat thanks largely to Google’s lack of oversight in Android Market. The company’s refusal to play “app cop” will increasingly take a toll on its app distribution business — and maybe on Android as a whole.
Today’s must-read is this fantastic post from Forrester’s James McQuivey examining the new fees for mobile content subscriptions being imposed by Apple and Google. McQuivey keenly compares the mobile-app space to the credit card industry, and argues that not only is Apple’s 30 percent take too large, Google’s 10 percent share is higher than it should be. The analyst isn’t questioning the right of app distributors to take as large a chunk as they please, but predicts that “the long-term resting point” for such fees is likely to be smaller than Google’s 10 percent. It’s a pretty compelling argument, and one that surely gives hope to the app developers and media publishers who have been up in arms this week.
In-app purchases represent a huge opportunity for developers to generate revenues and for consumers to enhance the user experience. But the market will only reach its potential if it can avoid the PR problems that plagued the ringtone market a few years ago.
Cries of antitrust, lock-in and lock-out reverberated through the technology world this week after news of Apple rejecting Sony’s new e-reader application surfaced. The move to require the inclusion of in-ap purchases for those selling content through the App Store will garner Apple more revenue in the near term, but here are five reasons why the folks in Cupertino could eventually regret this move.
There’s been a lot of fallout this morning following this piece from the New York Times that claims Apple is tightening the grip on its App Store by rejecting an app that enables users to purchase e-books from the Sony Reader Store. Forrester Research’s James McQuivey calls it “a shift for Apple,” which had long supported similar apps such as Amazon’s Kindle store. Meanwhile, Apple says “We have not changed our guidelines.” But TechCrunch’s Jason Kincaid astutely notes that Apple forbids any system other than its own In App Purchase, preventing developers from directing users to the browser to buy content. And while developers could keep all revenues from purchases on the mobile web, Apple keeps 30 percent of in-app transactions. Which tells you all you need to know about why Apple is suddenly playing hardball.
Last week Google showed off its progress on Chrome OS. It introduced an apps store in support of it, and offered up a pre-release hardware trial program as a concession that real machines wouldn’t ship till mid 2011. But it’s likely all for naught. Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s objective of making Chrome OS a “viable third choice” in desktop operating systems looks doomed.
Since I’ve written that browsers don’t matter anymore, and because I was an OS analyst in a previous life, I waited to watch Google’s Chrome announcement today, to try to gauge its NewNet relevance. The browser continues to focus on speed and security, the coming apps store looks a lot like Apple’s but will allow free trials, and the OS, according to Eric Schmidt, is the old “Network Computer” finally realized. This combination from Google supports key trends in social media and real-time technologies but doesn’t scream “this is the best NewNet platform” in comparison with other OS/browser/mobile OS combinations or mixes-and-matches. True, it’s all cloud and constantly attached: all Chrome OS devices will ship (in mid-2011) with cellular and WiFi, via an aggressive data plan from Verizon Wireless. What do you think? Will Chrome OS be your preferred platform, or even a viable third desktop/notebook choice?
This morning’s big news comes from Apple, which surprised mobile onlookers by relaxing restrictions on third-party iOS development tools and publishing its new App Store review guidelines. This is undeniably good news for developers who have long griped about Apple’s inconsistent policies, but there are a few other interesting angles here, too. The Wall Street Journal speculated (in the lede!) that this could open the door for App Store support of offerings that use Adobe Flash, while TechCrunch rightly noted that it now appears that AdMob and other mobile ad players will be able to fully leverage iAd. The most important angle, though, might be Apple’s view that it doesn’t need any more fart apps. Which might be a signal that Apple is becoming less focused about the number of apps it hawks and more focused on the quality.
What Ping aims to create is not a seamless fabric of interconnected networks, but an archipelago of discreet networks joined only by the shared e-commerce functionality of iTunes. It is social networking without the World Wide Web, which, coming from anyone but Apple, would sound nonsensical.