Analysis: App Stores in detail

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Analysis: App Stores in detail

iTnews takes a comprehensive look at the app store strategies of Apple, RIM, Microsoft and Android to show which is best for developers.

Page 1 of 2  |  Single page

In the last few months, RIM (Blackberry), Microsoft, Nokia and the Android consortium have all moved to emulate Apple's highly successful App Store model.

The new app stores coming online create a great deal of choice for mobile application developers, but also present a challenge around developer resources.

Developers need to make some important calls now on which platforms provide the most opportunity. Which are the most popular among users? Which are the most cost-effective to develop for?

Hopefully, this table and the accompanying analysis will assist in making these choices.

 

Apple
AppStore
(iPhone)

Microsoft
(
Marketplace)

Blackberry App World (RIM)

Android
Market

Nokia
Ovi Store

JOINING
FEE

Standard Program US$99, Enterprise Program (for companies with over 500 staff to develop iPhones for in-house use) is US$299

US$99
annually

US$200 (includes ten app submissions).

US$25 - but only available to developers in the US and UK at present

€50

PRICE PER
APP

FREE

US$99

Five free apps until close of 2009.

App updates are charged as new applications

 

US$200 for ten application submissions.

App updates count as separate submissions

FREE

FREE

MARGINS

Developer earns 70 per cent of sale.
Apple keeps 30 per cent for profit and payment of credit card interchange fees

Developers receive 70 per cent of sale

Developers receive 80 per cent of sale

Developers receive 70 per cent of sale.

Google says the 30 per cent is to pay carriers and billing settlement costs.

Developers receive 70 per cent of sale, net refunds and returns and minus taxes for credit card sales and minus taxes + fixed operator costs for direct mobile account billing

TERMS

 Developers paid via monthly direct deposit into bank account

Customers purchase via credit card
Other options being explored.

Customers purchase using PayPal.

Developers paid via PayPal.

 

Credit card processing via Google Checkout

Customers purchase via credit card or via their phone bill with participating mobile phone operators

MARKET
SIZE

 

30 million devices (17m iPhones, 14m iPod Touch) as of Dec 08

 

Undisclosed.
18 million licenses sold
in 2008
for Windows Phones

21 million Blackberry subscribers

N/A

50 million Nokia devices worldwide

MARKET
REACH

 

App Store in 77 Countries

 

Global

United States, Canada and the United Kingdom

US and UK only

Global

DEVELOPER
BASE

50,000

480,000

1000+

N/A

Several thousand

RESOURCES

developer
.apple.com

Windows Mobile Developer Center

BlackBerry App World FAQ's

developer.
android.com

publish.
ovi.com

 

The market

Apple's App Store boasts a mind-blowing 800 million downloads for its first eight months of operation - a complete game changer for mobile telephony. Competing with that kind of demand is going to be difficult for any challenger.

That said, there are as many Blackberry-enabled phones and Windows Mobile devices in the wild as iPhones. There is certainly opportunity aplenty should these platforms, and their associated app stores, provide the ease-of-use that has helped bring about Apple's success.

The potential reach for Blackberry App World and Android Market are both geographically limited at present. Both Google and RIM are expected to make announcements on this matter in the near future.

Terms

The terms available to developers are markedly similar, but the devil is in the detail.

Four app stores offer a 70 per cent share of the sale to the developer, but RIM's late entry to the market is compensated with an offer of 80 per cent.

Apple product marketing manager Marcus Annett told iTnews that the company keeps 30 per cent of sales for profit and payment of credit card interchange fees, while Android developer relations lead Dan Morrill said the 30 per cent cut is used to pay carriers and billing settlement costs.

Nokia meanwhile, offers mobile carriers and additional cut of the money to allow for direct billing on mobile phone bills with participating carriers.

All five offer registration fees to cover the cost of accrediting developers to ensure a certain degree of quality.

The Android Market registration fee of US$25 certainly offers the best value - Microsoft Marketplace represents the worst, given that its US$99 fee is charged annually.

The more interesting fees are those charged for every new application uploaded for sale or free download.

While Apple, Nokia and Android offer development teams the ability to spin out as many new applications as they see fit, Microsoft and RIM charge on a per app basis (US$99 per app at Microsoft, US$200 per ten apps at RIM). And to make matters worse, both count an update to an existing app as a new one for the purposes of these fees.

RIM may also face challenges if it insists on its users only being able to pay for apps on Blackberry App World via PayPal.

For more on the developer resources offered for each of these mobile platforms, read on to  Page 2.

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