Can operators successfully launch an app store?
I ran into this question in the Mobile Show -Linkedin group. It was raised by Mr. Follow Ziad from a company called Maysalward at Jordan. My reply can be found from: http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Hello-from-Maysalward-Jordan-Thanx-435458... .
I started to think deep into the question and have to admit that without doubt it is possible at least on paper, but it will be a rocky road making it a true success.
The challenges are mulit-dimensional: What API's to make public and what not? How to prevent fragmentation towards other app stores? What is the value to developers compared to competitors? How to tackle the fact that subscripers ain't very loyal anymore? WHat would be the business model? etc... the list of questions is almost endless.
If/when operator identifies an own app store to be something to gain, their would need to do the following:
1. Define the ultimate targets: is the target to create additional revenue streams or to increase the subscriper base? In many cases these two could go hand in hand but not necessarely.
2. Specify the device strategy (what platforms, devices and when)
3.Define the target developers/apps and customers
4. Analyse the competing APIs and create your own API plans (including what to publish and when plus how to minimize fragmentation)
The steps 1-3 can be done parallel to save time, but the step 4 can only begin after step 2 and 3 have been almost concluded.
One additional point to remember is that all the material created in steps 1-4 will get old very soon after being reated so the execution should happen without any delays.
This was a quick analysis result and by no means a complate one. One thing is sure: many, if not all operators are currently at least planning on opening their own app store. Some we've already seen live but there are yet more to come.