This is potentially some great news out of MWC 2010 in Barcelona: A whole gaggle of major mobile networks have formed an alliance to bring a consolidated marketplace for apps to their consumers, totalling over 3 billion subs. You can see the details here: Wholesale Applications Community.
It’s ambitious, it will be wracked with technical challenges, and it will no doubt take way longer to achieve than planned. But it has to be done. Mobile networks have watched over the last 12 months as their content revenues plunged – cannibalized by the app stores of the very handsets they are selling. The only way to combat this is to provide a rival offering that can go toe-to-toe on a global scale, and the key factor will be billing.
Billing, or inability to easily perform billing, has been a thorn in the side of developers and distributors for time immemorial (okay, 8 years or so). Apple have the strength of their iTunes platform, but the Wholesale Apps Community will have the huge advantage of direct mobile billing to billions of customers. The lure of that cannot be underestimated. And if the process by which developers will distribute their apps is made simple it will then cut out the middle-man aggregator and boost returns for the people who actually build the products. I dream of the day that I can put our multiplayer games in front of huge numbers of potental players, with on-bill micro transactions enabled across the board, and a 70%+ revenue share. Oh Happy Day!
I am cautiously optimistic that the Wholesale Apps Community will bring many millions more consumers into the world of purchasing mobile content and give developers another avenue for making a return on their hard work. I will be watching with great interest.
Posted by David Kainer on February 15th, 2010 :: Filed under vision and trends
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