Could Google Learn from App Store Business Model?

If you’re a prospective developer for Google’s Android platform and trying to figure out the best way to distribute your application, you might be intrigued by how Apple is handling their App Store. Announced last week with the Software Developer Kit (SDK), it offers a different approach to distribution. As a developer, you can pick your price and allow Apple to provide the one-stop shopping for iPhone and iPod Touch programs. The rub is that they take 30% off the top.

It works on one hand as consumers will know specifically where to go to look for new applications. There’s going to be a built-in audience chomping at the bit when the doors open. On the other hand, pretty much all applications available for other platforms (Windows Mobile, Symbian, etc) are readily available through many channels. You can get a program at the developer’s web page, Handango (or similar store), or even at physical stores. I’ve never heard one person complain to me “Gee, I wish there was one place I could go to get all the WinMo apps I want. There’s just too many choices out here.”

Perhaps Google could offer a trusted site where people can go to look for programs that have signed certificates. Doing this would put people at ease who are weary of quality control issues. Sure, you can still get an application at the developer’s personal blog or corporate website, but by being officially given the “all clear”, end users can be assure that there will no compatibility issues. Creating an online superstore where anyone can submit their offerings would also give the developer peace of mind knowing that there is definite exposure opportunity. Raise the bar just set by Apple (again) and allow the developers the right to take home 100% of the money.

It wouldn’t be the first time Google offered things for free.

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