For Android’s sake Google should push the operators harder

By October 1, 2008Google, Mobile

Earlier this month I was amazed when Dotson, CEO of T-Mobile came out and said that mobile app developers needed “stewardship and control” from operators to produce the best results for customers.

Now today I read on mocoNews that developers who don’t wish to charge for their apps will be able to make them available on what is now being called Android Market without going through an approval process.  This is a big step forward – no control.

Unfortunately developers who want to charge for their apps will have to cut revenue share deals each operator whose customers they want to sell to.  Whilst being able to charge via the mobile bill is cool, as OpenGardens points out on balance this is a real pain:

1) In terms of data usage and subscribers, I do not believe that individual Operators can have a large enough user base to make a commercial difference to a developer.

2) Individual agreements between developers and Operators are not feasible for Long Tail applications when most of the applications do not make a lot of money in the first place.

3) Also, we start to get fragmentation immediately(for example if developer gets 70 perc for supporting x devices and 50 percent for not doing so etc etc)

Clearly what we want is as many developers as possible building mobile apps, or mobile extensions to their web apps.  These types of blockages ultimately don’t do anybody any favours, including the operators.

Google understands this, it is in their DNA, and I had hoped they would bring enough pressure to bear on the operators that we avoided the buggers muddle we are fast heading towards.

Particularly as Apple is also screwing up