Saturday, 1 August 2009
App store dictators, mobile services & who owns the pip
Google Voice scares AT&T (and probably other operators) as it provides an alternative way for users to make calls as well as making it easy for user to switch between operators whilst keeping the same number (think roaming – pop in a local PAYG SIM).
What is made clearly apparent is that an app store owner has control over what they choose to let there users install. Control is good – we don’t want apps to introduce vulnerability and stability risks to our phones and we probably want to avoid some of the shady sides of the industry – but who is to decide where to draw this line? When phone owners only have one place that they can go to get apps we are subject to problems of monopolisation control.
Apple cannot maintain strict control of application delivery to iPhones without seeing a backlash of people looking at alternative platforms with their alternative app stores. Apple have the user experience advantage at the moment – no where else is it so easy for user to get their hands on a rich set of applications – but as alternatives rise which have decent user experience and provide killer functionality missing from the iPhones, iPhone lovers may start to look elsewhere.
Michael Arrington (Techcrunch) quits the iPhone and Steven Frank (Co-founder, Panic) is “Not buying any future iPhone OS based devices” until the situation improves.
Apple, the iPhone and their app store have lifted the mobile industry in the past couple of years. I pray that Apple relax a few of their constraints, as I want Nokia, Palm and the Google Clan to have beat Apple by improving their user experience – not because Apple gives away the customers.