Interesting Subtext on Apps

I saw this headline yesterday and didn’t pay it any mind, figuring it was a sour grapes comment from AT&T aimed at Apple.

Apple’s App Store is bad for consumers, AT&T CEO Says

There’s interesting subtext here. Check out the except from BGR:

“You purchase an app for one operating system, and if you want it on another device or platform, you have to buy it again,” Stephenson said during his speech. “That’s not how our customers expect to experience this environment.” He went on to essentially call HTML5 the answer to the problem — more specifically, the carrier-run Wholesale Applications Community is the answer to the problem.

Let’s check the facts.

  • AT&T is making a push with Android offerings to expand their customer base and offset any loss of customers to Verizon’s iPhone.
  • All carriers want to keep their customers, and the logical extension of that desire is the carrier-branded app store, a la Verizon’s V CAST App Store.
  • We know Apple put the kibosh on that bloatware idea for the Verizon iPhone, but that Verizon apps will be available via the App Store.
  • Google makes it dead easy to migrate between Android phones if you’re using a Google Account; just authenticate to a clean device and watch your free and purchased apps magically trickle down from the cloud.
  • Apple makes it less simple, but still OK to move between iOS devices via iTunes.

In summary, it’s easy enough to move between mobile OSes of the same flavor, but there’s no good solution for normalizing and migrating apps between different mobile OSes. What you say!!

The carriers must see an opportunity here. Beloved Customer, we know you worked so hard to clear all those Angry Bird levels, so why not let us migrate you from your iOS install to a new Android one.

I know that’s virtually unpossible, but I’m sure the customer would be happy just to get the same apps, if available on the new OS.

Hello carrier value-added service.

Apple, namely tethering to iTunes, is the big impediment here, but should iOS get any OTA sync, expect this idea to move ahead, probably with hackers first, then with carriers.





  1. I quite agree. This is just a grab at the app market by carriers. I don’t think they shouldn’t try. But hasn’t the “web apps will be fine for everyone” thing been beat to death enough that they can’t already see the train wreck?

    I’m honestly surprised we haven’t heard more from the Java folks, reigniting “write once run anywhere”. 🙂

  2. Hold on there, so you’re against HTML5 as a mobile web development solution? I beg to differ on that account 🙂 Most apps don’t need device-specific features, just bells and whistles. Besides, HTML5 support for those is advancing.

    The carriers want to do the heavy lifting for their customers, i.e. migrate their data and apps between OSes, but I doubt they want to build apps.

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