Operators build defensive alliance against app store leaders – who’s standing up for the UX?

Application stores are dominating the headlines thus far at Mobile World Congress, with news of a 24 operator alliance being formed to create a unified set of development standards and route to market. It includes some of the biggest names from the networks – Vodafone, Verizon Wireless, China Mobile, China Unicom, AT&T, Orange, NTT DoCoMo and more.

Supporting handset manufacturers include LG, Samsung and Sony Ericsson. Notably absent are those who already have significant investments in their own application stores, such as Apple, RIM, Nokia and Google.

The alliance will aim to unify the JIL and OMTP Bondi frameworks to provide a single, W3C-backed development path.

In theory, it will reach 3 billion customers around the world through the combined subscriber bases of its supporters.

In reality, there’s not much customer-led innovation here. Apple and RIM have already demonstrated that making the discovery process friendly and enjoyable for the user enables you to rapidly build a market place. Agreeing a lowest common denominator set of standards and trying to battle out a unified approach in committee meetings seems like an unlikely way to develop something which will appeal to end users.

First impression: a defensive move which will be slow to implement because of industry politics and unappealing for consumers because of poor integration with the handset user experience.

1 comment

Add yours
  1. 1

    I agree. This is definitely a defensive move.

    The idea may be good but if you look at those hardware manufacturer that are part of the initiative you can easily find that they have in their portfolio plenty of different platforms.

    If the life of the developer will be easier to market his application he will still have to fight with the fragmentation on devices.

    As we all know this is the most critical aspect.

    Same for UX.

    Because of different platforms you will not have the same UX approach on all of those.

    This may lead to bad products on some products.

    On the other side every Apple developer may me much more consistent and focused both on development and UX since they will have only to deal with one platform.

    Also on the economic side the rules on the Apple side are quite clear.

    We still do not know how this will work for those joining this initiative

+ Leave a Comment