ailon's DevBlog: Development related stuff in my life

Spotify-like App Stores

9/24/2012 3:03:52 PM

Photo by ZeroOne

I’m the last person to say good things about iTunes, but there’s no denying it brought legal digital music to mainstream users. Same goes for iOS App Store. Geeks were buying Windows Mobile apps long before the App Store, but Apple made it easy for a regular person to buy apps for their smartphones. That said, buying MP3s-to-own sounds very old school in 2012 and I bet only the most devoted fans or those who have never heard of Spotify, Zune Pass, Rhapsody, etc. still do it.

But what about apps? All of the app stores still operate in the “classic” iTunes model. Even though it’s clear that paid 99 cent app model never really took off on Android, all Windows Phone success stories are ad based, and even on iOS free-to-play games reign supreme at this stage.

Yet, I think it should be way easier (from the legal standpoint) to introduce the subscription model to the app stores than it was (is) in the music world. Obviously not every smartphone user would like to pay a monthly fee for the app firehose and not every niche app maker would agree to get pennies for each download/use. But, in general, the 99 cent developer crowd should be happy and power users would happily pay $5/month for unlimited access to most of the app catalog. And it shouldn’t be just one or the other.

There’s no doubt it would take a lot of math, market testing, etc. to perfect the formula, but overall I think it’s a win-win solution and an obvious next evolutionary step in the app store history.

What do you think?

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Should Google and Microsoft Pay OEMs to Use Their OSs?

9/18/2012 2:55:55 PM

These days no one seems to debate the cliché phrase that it’s no longer a war of operating systems or devices, but a war of ecosystems. And, since actual devices and operating systems are only enablers of these ecosystems, it’s quite obvious that one of the ways to move an ecosystem forward is to strip the profit margins of the devices completely. And Amazon is a perfect example of this.

Photo credit Android Authority

Amazon is happy to sell you a Kindle with no margin, happy to exchange a broken one without grilling you too much about validity of your warranty claim. That’s not where they make money. But it’s where consumers buy into the ecosystem – “Look this tablet is awesome and it’s only $299!”

Apple has a seemingly opposite business model, but they can easily switch to the Amazon’s way of doing business if they choose or are forced to.

Google and Microsoft, on the other hand, are very dependent on the OEMs making the hardware and those OEMs in turn are dependent on having a reasonable margin on top of the costs of the hardware and OS. Google can make their “own” Nexus devices, and Microsoft can make their own Surfaces, but they are not free to compete on the hardware prices as long as they care about OEMs even a little. And I guess they have to care at least for now.

So, unless Google and Microsoft either somehow compensate OEMs for the lost profits on the hardware or let them in on the revenues from the ecosystem as a whole, it looks like it will be difficult to compete with Amazon and (possibly) Apple in the ecosystem play.

Luckily for Google, Amazon doesn’t make phones yet. Luckily for Microsoft they don’t make proper computers yet. Luckily for both, Amazon is still very US-centric in the content department. All of this can change any day, though.


Introducing AppBizDev Podcast

9/4/2012 2:53:29 PM


I’ve had this idea for a long time, but I know that I’m not the right person to do it. And then I thought the recruiting the right person would be much easier if I just do the pilot myself and set the bar really low ;) So here we go…

AppBizDev is a bi-weekly podcast about Windows Phone and Windows 8 app marketing, funding and monetization, and we are looking for a lead host! Are you interested in app development business? Is English your native language? (let’s be honest, people can’t stomach 2 hosts like me ;) Can you commit to spending an hour once every other week? If the answer is “yes”, then please get in touch at

If hosting a podcast is not your cup of tea, but you are interested in creative ways to promote, monetize and fund your apps, subscribe to the podcast feed in your favorite podcast client and, please, do not hesitate to provide any feedback in the comments or via email or twitter.

Check out the first episode “The First and The Worst”.


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