Parks Associates Blog

Thursday, February 05, 2009

The Race to Open Mobile App Stores Has Another Runner: Samsung

After Microsoft, RIM and Palm disclosed their respective plan to launch virtual stores for consumers to download mobile applications, Samsung, now the No. 2 mobile handset maker, also jumps in. The South Korean giant will unveil its App store for users of Symbian and Windows Mobile devices during the Mobile World Congress event this month. Although it will open only to UK consumers initially, there is no doubt that the company will expand it to other nations very soon if the UK store resonates well with consumers.

This is a recap of what has happened in the mobile app space since Apple’s success story was widely published.

· September, 2008: the press first reported Microsoft’s mobile app store: SkyMarket, then rumor has it that Microsoft will also announce it at this month’s Mobile World Congress.
· Oct 21, 2008: Research in Motion announced its Blackberry application storefront will open in March 2009; developers will get 80% of the revenue from sales.
· Oct 22, 2008: Google Android Market went live with 50+ applications and Google promises to give developers 70% of the sales and the 30% will go to carriers and pay for billing settlement.
· Jan 9, 2009: Palm announced plan to launch its WebOS App Catalog.
· Feb 4, 2009: the Samsung’s move

When adding Qualcomm’s BREW Shop, Nokia’s Download Store, and third-party mobile software reseller sites like Handango and GetJar, this space is getting quite crowded. As consumer app download market grows, the fragmented mobile OS market could become a dragging factor. Will Apple leverage its App Store’s success to lock in users just as it did with its iPod+iTunes franchise? The mobile industry should consider well beforehand such possibility. The more fragmented the market is, the more leverage Apple could gain.

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