During a presentation at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said that platform-specific app stores like Apple’s AppStore and Google’s Android Market are bad for consumers. Before you slap us with some serious hate comments (which BTW I can understand), read these words from Mr. Stephenson first: “You purchase an app for one operating system, and if you want it on another device or platform, you have to buy it again,” he said. “That’s not how our customers expect to experience this environment.”
See, there’s the point here after all. I do agree we/consumers should be able to purchase multi-platform licenses for digital content, apps and games included. However, I doubt that’s likely to happen any time soon. AT&T would obviously want to see itself as the only place where users get to buy their mobile content and in that sense I can understand their position.
As a solution, Randall Stephenson suggests HTML5-based mobile apps which can work across multiple devices. The problem with such apps is that they can’t access all of the phone’s functions like sensors, your address book and so on. AT&T will do its share in promoting HTML5 apps by pushing the Wholesale Applications Community, which officially launched on February 14th.
Finally I can’t help but notice that AT&T is issuing statements like these only days after losing exclusive carrier status for the iPhone. Up until this point, I can’t recall they mentioned anything similar. Hypocrisy or what?