Operator app stores had been trumpeted - by the operators at least – as a way for them to maintain a stake in the valuable business of selling users ‘value add’ services. Petrified (or indignant, occasionally) at the predictions they were to become just ‘dumb pipes’ additional revenue streams were urgently sought.
In 2012 several operators realised this wasn’t succeeding and cut their losses.
Telefonica is closing its app stores in Germany, Spain and Argentina this month saying:
Operator apps stores don’t seem to fit with the way the market is going.
Verizon is also shuttering its store (although business customers get a reprieve for now in their dedicated store) this month telling customers:
Closing Verizon Apps simplifies your purchasing and downloading experience, while continuing to allow us to help developers get their apps to you quickly and efficiently.
Vodafone are also aiming to have their store shut by the end of the month although – notably – a dedicated store for emerging markets remains:
In light of the number and variety of application stores already available to our customers, Vodafone has been reviewing its own AppSelect service. The review has now concluded and Vodafone has decided to phase out AppSelect by 31 January 2013 at the latest.
This comes despite significant commentary at launch that many operator stores gave little benefit to consumers or developers. Some analysts are now asking if a similar fate awaits efforts such as payments and advertising.