jeudi 23 septembre 2010

Ovi isn't top of mind for Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg

Nokia World 2010 just ended. We have all read a bunch of news about this even, their new devices, etc.; and eventually watched the keynote speach video. One of their key points was around "developers", they had also their Nokia Developer Summit 2010.

Why is it so important? Well, because Nokia wants to become a service company and thus places OVI at the center of it strategy, along with their hardware. It's also because Apps are becoming a intricated part of the smartphone story, and you can't sell a smartphone without selling good apps. Apple understood this, even if they make only 1,2% of their income from the AppStore.

But to have good apps, you need good developers, and to get good developers in, well, they need to make a good living out of it! And this is THE tricky part!

Here's a very interesting quote that sums it all up:

"And then, we invest differently in different platforms depending on how big they are, and how many users are there. So, iPhone is the one we’re investing in the most now, and Android increasingly. If Windows Phone 7 takes off, then I’m sure we’ll put resources on that." Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, in an article from TechCrunch (22/09/2010)

Basically, one of the most (if not THE most) used application on a mobile summarizes the interest from developers in different platforms: 1) iOS, 2) Android and eventually WIndows Phone 7. No mention of Nokia!!! We know that the US is not particularly strong market for Nokia, but still, Marc is also super aware of the importance of Facebook outside the US... But Facebook is available on OVI. So why such an ommission?

This is quite significative of the interest from developers into OVI. I have attented quite a few meetings from startups, followed a lot of new aps, and usually companies start their development in the same order.

Same reaction during Mobile Monday Silicon Valley - August 2010 event "So Many App Stores…Now what? ", check the number of developpers who will develop in Symbian versus iOS or Android...

The reason is simple: revenues!

I have already written an article about the billing issue (read Google, Android, OVI and the billing issue, why it's still an issue! ), but I wanted to take a closer look at OVI, especially since they are frequently announcing more daily downloads, the latest being 2 million downloads per day!

Graph below shows the progression of daily downloads as announced by Nokia (using only press articles). As you can see, there's quite a nice progression (scale is in million downloads)

Nokia also announced a very good news for developers, starting October 2010, Nokia will give 60% of the net end-user price as revenue share to developers on purchases made through operator billing (read article here).

So to make my mind up, I did try Ovi on my "old" Nokia N95, and here it is below.

Ovi Home Page
Game Home Page

By default, you arrive on "Recommanded", and it's 100% free Apps. If you select "Games" ("Jeux" here), by default you land on the Free Games page ("Afficher: Gratuit", gratuit = free); with just one paid game featured.

Paid Games Section
Paying for a game

Only when selecting paid games that you can find a selection of games for purchase. When selecting "payment mode", well, for the largest operator in France (Orange) as of yesterday (22/09/2010), you still only had credit card payment. Yes, of course they just announced an agreement with Orange (read article), probably was a long negotiation over the revenue-share issue!

But bottom-line is that Nokia's strategy is #1 to drive traffic to OVI by increasing number of unique users! Then, and only then will we worry about payment. But what better than free stuff to drive traffic? After all, delivering the free Nokia Maps was a pretty smart move to help sell its devices; so why not with Apps.

Well, the difference is that Nokia Maps was a pretty hefty purchase from Nokia for $8.1 billion back in October 2007! But apps; well, they depend on app developpers. Many are happy in distributing free apps (for numerous reasons); but in the end, you must sell to make a living!

So no wonder why most developers think about OVI last...


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