In order for App World to be a real success, we’re going to need to see it preloaded on upcoming BlackBerry devices, as well as pushed by carriers to all their BlackBerry subscribers. The reason we’re not currently seeing this, is because the carriers are threatened by App World, and concerned with losing a major revenue stream.
From the carrier perspective, App World is both a blessing and a threat. App World is promoting a surge in data usage which directly translates to extra revenue for the carrier. The threat from App World for the carrier comes down to competition with the carrier content portal. In a content distribution taste test, the carriers will always lose to App World, but this doesn’t matter to them. All the carrier cares about is owning the sale of content and owning that revenue stream. App World threatens to eat the carrier’s lunch, as more subscribers realize that the content download experience is much better through RIM.
Not only are carriers preventing App World from reaching more users, they’re also preventing subscribers from getting access to the content we want. The carriers have always tried to impede tethering and VoIP applications which keep our bills low and stay connected. This is just one reason why the carrier content portal needs to bow down to App World.
In the end this is all going to come down to a CEO showdown. Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis are going to have to show some incredible leadership in order to convince the carriers to get out of the way. Behind closed doors, RIM executive will sit down with the likes of Randall L. Stephenson of AT&T and Ivan Seidenberg of Verizon. Their negotiations will hinge on some of the following points:
- As a world leader in smartphone manufacturing, they are a significant source of hardware revenue.
- Smartphone and BlackBerry adoption rates are better than ever.
- BlackBerry devices encourage great data and voice usage.
- BlackBerry devices can convince subscribers to shift carriers.
- The gatekeepers – they control the customer.
- BlackBerry is dependent on their networks.
The likely outcome of this battle will be Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis convincing the carriers to become pipes and nothing else. The carriers will give up their control of content distribution and allow App World to do it best.
When the RIM dream team finally take down the carriers, we’ll see some great things happen to App World. All BlackBerry devices will upgrade with App World being pushed to their device and BlackBerry devices that are later released, will have App World preloaded on the device.
Things are going to work out for the carriers as well. Although the carriers will have lost their content portal revenue, they’ll be more than making up for it with new revenue streams and they’ll see a dramatic increase in established revenue channels. The new carrier supported App World will be able to use direct billing. Where App World once relied on PayPal and credit cards, your purchases will now show up on your monthly statement. Carriers will be taking a cut of every sale in the same way PayPal did. Also, expect users to upgrade their voice and data packages as App World fosters greater usage of the BlackBerry.
In the end, everybody wins.
The article you just read is completely an opinion piece and does not reflect anything official from RIM. It’s just for discussion.