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Why the mobile App Store bubble will burst

And why Ovi will fail

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The rush to pour resources into mobile App Stores is doomed to fail, reckons one analyst, in a scathing overview of both the scene, and Nokia's prospects.

Marek Pawlowski, who organises the MEX conference writes:

"The ever increasing complexity and number of these developer programmes is driving billions of dollars of spending each year, across events, staffing costs, administering the app stores and partnership marketing. Some, such as Microsoft, have even started to offer direct financial incentives to developers to create third party apps for their platforms."

"How long can so many individual companies support so many individual app stores and so many individual platforms? The economics simply do not add up. Every company, with the possible exception of Apple, is operating their app store and developer programme at a substantial loss. This cannot continue indefinitely."

After mulling over the meaning of the metrics the companies use - particular the prevailing view that quantity means quality - he offers an observation that suggest they're wasting their time. These app stores are simply a means to an end: "deep personalisation". Not a bad goal, thinks Marek, but if this is the case, the Microsofts, RIMs, Nokias and others may want to think about spending the cash more wisely - and enchancing "their core products and co-operative efforts to make … development more accessible, lower cost, and standardised".

Then there's a quite brutal appraisal of Nokia's prospects - based on the Ovi Developer Day in London. After promising "no PowerPoints", the audiences were subjected to hours of them, for example. No developers who attended were using a Nokia phone - but Nokia didn't furnish them with a prototype N8, as is the custom at other developer events.

It did spend a lot of money on a social media marketing campaign - "Nokia’s spokesperson emphasised they saw these kind of ‘buzzy’, fun applications as key to capturing column inches in the press and generating awareness in social media channels."

Marek concludes:

"Nokia have fallen into the trap of paying to recreate the desirable symptoms of their competitors rather than looking at the root cause of their rivals’ success" and will look back "ruefully a few years hence on the wastage of social media nonsense campaigns."

I had the same thought watching this stream of Web2.0rhea from Nokia's phone chief Anssi Vanjoki recently. Have a look at this small sample:

There is such a thing as trying too hard. At the wrong thing. ®

BootnoteThanks for your Rescuing Nokia feedbag - I'll put the best up a special Mailbag, tomorrow.

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