moshoviNokia’s mobile networking site Mosh, R.I.P. The Ovi Store, which the handset manufacturer recently announced in Mobile World Congress, will replace it. Ovi is the umbrella brand for all of Nokia’s Internet services and includes a music store, maps, mail (Nokia Messaging), games (N-gage).

Changes: Screening Users, Moderated Content

Mosh was a very popular site for mobile users to upload, share and download files, games, video, music (ringtones) and applications across the world. It claims to have clocked a whopping 137 million downloads in total. Indians in particular were very active users of Mosh, with almost 50,000 users using it per day compared to 30,000 Americans. India alone accounted for 50% of the site’s traffic last year, MocoNews had reported. The combination of mobiles and social networking has caught the fancy of millions of users in India and local versions of Mosh- sites like Funmaza , Mobiletoones and Masti4India – have cropped up all over.

Launched in 2007, Mosh was still in Beta when it closed. It was known for being riddled with unmoderated content, which Nokia plans to ensure wont happen with Ovi Store. It was a free-for-all ground; there was nobody in control. It did not have a screening process and registration was not required to download. The site was flooded with explicit content and illegal music copies. Will Nokia then include DRM and anti-piracy clauses?

Not Really Social Networking; Not Free

With it now becoming a “store” we doubt if any of Mosh’s old spirit will be left. Will users be able to share their favourite applications or will they be restricted to buying them individually?

The transition could make a majority of downloads charged, with Nokia announcing that it will split its proceeds with application developers. Microsoft’s app store, Windows Marketplace For Mobile, has also adopted Nokia’s 70:30 offer for application developers but said it will allow them to set the prices, so we could see free applications too.

We hope they get the prices right – too high and users will fall back to the Internet to get their favourite apps (like GetJar).

Nokia’s Download! (for downloading applications, videos and ringtones for your mobile phone onto the PC) and Widsets have also been combined into the store. Ovi Store will be commercially launched in select countries in May and is expected to be in India by the second half of the year. Microsoft is also readying Windows Marketplace For Mobile (what a mouthfull after Ovi) but has only revealed that it will be launched sometime this year.

Windows Marketplace Gets Ready

wmp-logoAt the International CTIA WIRELESS 2009, Robbie Bach, president of Microsoft’s Entertainment and Devices Division announced that 29 content partners have signed up to offer gaming, social networking, media, utility and personal productivity applications on it. Some names are CNBC, Facebook, EA Mobile,  Myspace and Accuweather. There are around 20,000 applications already available to Windows Mobile users and this will definitely boost the user experience.

Marketplace will offer users a choice while billing – users will be able to buy applications and either pay immediately using their credit card or transfer the charges to their phone bill. The company will also very benevolently offer a return policy – users who download and use an application for 24 hours before deciding they do not really need it can claim a refund.

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