Opera Software announced its Opera Mobile Store, which it said “offers both free and paid applications for virtually any mobile platform and device.” The offering is based on an app storefront platform from Appia, and “leverages a wide catalogue of applications for phones with Java, Symbian, BlackBerry and Android operating systems.” However, shortly after the store was launched, paidContent:UK said that Opera’s browser products had been pulled from leading independent app store GetJar. This company said that Opera had breached its terms and conditions, by adding a link to the new store to the home page of the browser – thereby promoting a rival to GetJar.
Content in the Opera Mobile Store is customised to each user’s phone, providing a “tailored catalogue based on the phone’s operating system, local language and currency.” The company said that the store will be featured as a “Speed Dial” link in its Opera Mini and Opera Mobile browsers, which “makes the storefront immediately accessible by more than 100 million people who use an Opera browser on their mobile phones” – it is this link that created the friction with GetJar, which had previously said that the Opera Mini browser was one of its top-five downloads.
In a statement, Patrick Mork, CMO of GetJar, noted: “the simple problem is that Opera mini decided to include a competing app store in its browser. Although we don’t have any issue with this in principle, in practice it means that consumers might start using this app store instead of visiting GetJar to get their favourite apps. This robs GetJar of traffic and therefore of the advertising necessary to keep our service free for the more than 25 million consumers that use GetJar. It also jeopardizes an ecosystem that has generated over 1.6 billion downloads for tens of thousands of developers who depend on us to make money from their apps. Don’t get me wrong: we’re happy to go head-to-head with any other app store and are certain that once you’ve tried the Opera App store you’ll find the depth of content, discovery and download from GetJar more compelling than ever. But it’s an another thing entirely to help competitors grow their business at our expense or that of our community. We spent many months negotiating with Opera to avoid this scenario and are disappointed that GetJar consumers will no longer have access to Opera Mini. Fortunately, there are a number of excellent options on GetJar for our users including Bitstream Bolt, UC Web browser and Squace. All are excellent products.”
Supporting the launch of the store, Opera has also launched the Opera Publisher Portal, which it said will “provide developers with an easy way to get their applications onto the Opera Mobile Store and in front of millions of Opera users every month.” In its pre-launch state, the store has “attracted more than 15 million users in February 2011, from 200 countries, achieving more than 700,000 downloads per day.” These figures make Opera Mobile Store “a top 10 mobile application store,” it said.
Opera did not state whether the store will also offer WAC widgets, although the company has been active in the early development of the WAC standard – it describes its Opera Widget Runtime as a “fully functional implementation of the WAC 1.0 specification, ready to be installed on Android devices.”