Not surprising, Vodafone is jumping on the bandwagon to provide appstores to it’s consumers. This is following a host of other mobile operators and handset vendors – who all have in common that they think app stores are the Field of Dreams for mobile content sales.
However, Vodafone’s store has an important element which may bring it closer to the “if you build it they will come” vision: Billing is integrated with their billing system. Yes, other features like Geo targeting is all fine – but a simple billing process is the absolute key – and Vodafone has solved it, or at least claim to do so.
For anyone who has provided services to mobile operators, you know how hard it is to integrate billing. The billing system is the holy grail with any operator – guarded by techies more vigilant than security guards at Fort Knox. I have to say that I take the business week claim of integrated billing being live in all Vodafone countries with a grain of salt. Vodafone countries have different platforms in different markets, thus making an initiative like this work on a global basis a near impossible task. But if they start with the large markets and manage to roll it out during 2009, they will certainly have solved one of the main hindrances other copy cat App Stores are trying to do.
And if you are a mobile operator, please read this qoute:
“But cognizant that earlier “wireless Web” initiatives failed in part because mobile operators starved software developers by hanging on to too much of the lucre, Vodafone says that it will keep just 30% of the price paid for each app and will pass the remaining 70% back to publishers”.
Finally! A major operator comes out and states what has been obvious since NTT Docomo and Telenor proved this 10 years ago. That is significant.
Now if they can figure out the user experience as well as Apple, and also provide a good web discovery service as well as on mobile – this App Store may actually have significance…