Following Opera’s launch of its own applications store, independent App Store, GetJar (which has a tie-up with Reliance Communications in India) has removed the Opera Mini Browser App from its store, citing violation of its Terms and Conditions. It has even suggested alternatives such as Bolt, UCWeb and Dolphin to its users. On its blog, GetJar informs that although it doesn’t have a problem with Opera Mini including a competing app store in its browser in principle, in practice the move might rob GetJar of traffic, since users might start visiting Opera’s app store instead and jeopardize its free app downloads eco-system which is supported by advertising.
It also mentions that GetJar spent many months negotiating with Opera to avoid the situation. It goes on to take a dig at Opera’s store and says that once users try out Opera’s app store, they’ll find GetJar’s discovery and downloads more compelling. GetJar claims that Opera Mini has been downloaded 30 million times from its app store, so this should be seen as a blow for Opera.
Meanwhile, in an interview to GigaOm, Opera’s EVP of Consumer Mobile, Mahi De Silva has said that GetJar was not an appreciable source for downloads and Opera has 600,000 downloads of its browser everyday. He confirmed that Opera was in talks with GetJar before the app store launch, but decided to go forward since GetJar’s goals were different from that of Opera.
Opera’s App Store
Opera has partnered with open application marketplace technology provider Appia, to launch a cross-platform app store. It aggregates free and paid apps across Java, Symbian, BlackBerry and Android platforms. It has also launched the Opera Publishing Portal to let developers get their apps on the store.
Multiple entities in the mobile ecosystem are setting up their own app sites:
– Handset manufacturers: Apple’s App Store crossed over a 10 billion application downloads recently, and this company essentially revived the applications ecosystem globally. There’s also Nokia Ovi store, but we know that it won’t last long. These retail handset / Operating system specific applications.
– Telecom Operator app store: with Airtel and Aircel themselves retailing apps. These cover multiple operating systems / platforms. Airtel believes that the telco is best suited to offer app stores.
– Operating System App Stores: The likes of Android from Google, and the Windows Mobile Marketplace. These are gathering momentum, but are platform specific.
– Browser application stores: The type just launched by Opera, with cross-platform applications
– Independent application stores like Getjar and Mobango (owned by India’s Mauj telecom)
With different entities setting up independent app store, consumers and developers are certainly going to benefit with a multitude of choices, but there are situations when their paths will cross. It’s taken a long time, for example, for Nokia to get telco billing in India for the Ovi Store.