Since the beginning of this century, developers have been writing and selling software for mobile devices. Channels to market and the fortunes of the players in the apps ecosystem have changed for a number of reasons: major gains for some players; mixed outlooks for many; the appearance of new and credible competitors, and the demise of others.
Mobile network operators have demonstrated a mixed track record in engaging the developer community in a lasting and mutually beneficial way. By addressing customers through the app stores on their devices, vendors like Apple and Google were able to engage developers directly. A high-profile MNO-led app stores platform initiative foundered, and major MNO groups have decided to abandon their own app store programs as vendors' app stores meet customers' and developers' wants and needs.
This report builds on the findings presented in App Stores: MNO Market Development Strategies (July 2011), adding coverage of the key developments in the app stores arena over the previous year and the changing nature of MNOs' relationships with app stores and the developer community that supports them. The report concludes with observations for MNOs' future role in the app stores ecosystem, with guidance on traps to be avoided and some app store opportunities that MNOs are very well positioned to address.