LIVE FROM NOKIA WORLD 2010: Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao pledged his support to the app developer community at this week’s Nokia World event, offering both advice and his company’s expertise in an effort to see this space flourish.
His comments were regarded as a clear indication that operators need to work more closely with developers. “Now is the time to tailor apps to users,” he advised. “Segmentation is critical – the right service to the right sector. We operators can really help you because we have loads of customer information in a privacy-sensitive and security-sensitive way. We have loads of information on device capabilities, location capabilities etc that will really help you increase the value of your apps.”
Colao claimed that another area Vodafone is able to assist developers with is operator billing. “We at Vodafone have opened this to third parties. Early indications are that operator billing really helps the takeup of paid apps. Billions of people will get into smartphones who don’t have a credit card.”
Vodafone’s head man was insistent that the business model for all players, including developers, is correctly nurtured in future. “We need to ensure there is the right margin for developers, media owners and content providers so there is a strong incentive to develop local content.”
Finally, Colao stressed the need for an open environment, and talked up his company’s initiatives in the application space, first with the Joint Innovation Laboratory and now via its new identity, WAC (Wholesale Applications Community). “Developers should be able to develop once and publish across all environments and monetise content. Both JIL and WAC were conceived with the idea that we can’t afford to have a single firm controlling the barriers. We want a truly open environment, in which operating systems and devices are decoupled as much as possible. One where all operators are on the same footing to compete for customers. This will create choice for all. Fragmentation will just be more complex for developers, and customers will receive a limited experience. In turn, that will cause higher costs, lower investments and lower volumes.”