Over the last three months more and more of those that I have met who are new to Mobile say that they have joined because the industry has gone "Open". They tell me that the App Store shows that the walled garden of the operators has finally been broken.
As someone who has been in the industry for over twenty years I have to inform then that the assumptions that they are working on are wrong. We have seen all this before. Not very long ago O2 had its Source developer community, they gave access to the O2 labs and test equipment for developers to use. Companies big and small whent to Ealing or Marlow to show that they had just the application that was going to monitise the mobile web. I did not see one single company that made money from the relationship. O2 started charging developers for access to the lab and then SourceO2 stopped.
Vodafone, T-Mobile and Orange all had Partner programs that were aimed at launching applications to the consumer all of these have been scaled back.
This week we have news from America that the App Store might be a bubble in that those who download do not use many Apps. This matters if your business model is ad supported. The Apple App Store needs to learn from the Palm developers, I will believe that it is open when I can download Opera for my iTouch o replace the iCal with something more suitable.
I do not see the use of App stores as something that will improve the user experience. I have persisted in try to make the Yahoo!Go service work on a number of handsets. On my latest Sony Ericsson it no longer connects to the server and so cannot update, it did for a while then it stopped. On my HTC Touch Plus the application works once in every five attempts! These two handsets are on different networks, I think the issue is that the network api has changes on my Orange handset, it might be an issue with memory on the handset with T-Mobile the issue is with the Radio Network I think. Poor quality of service means that regardless of excellent design an App will become unloved and unused.