Now that AT&T isn't the exclusive US iPhone carrier anymore, CEO Randall Stephenson saw fit to express some frustration with the way Apple runs the iPhone App Store. Stephenson believes customers should be able to buy an app once and run it on any device they so choose, including iPhone, Android phones, Windows phones, etc.
"You purchase an app for one operating system, and if you want it on another device or platform, you have to buy it again," Stephenson said in a keynote speech at the world's largest mobile-phone trade show in Barcelona, Spain. "That's not how our customers expect to experience this environment."
And the way to do this of course is by building them as HTML5 apps and selling them through the AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile run Wholesale Applications Community (WAC). Now I don't know about you but I always get suspicious when a big company talks about what's better for customers (yes even Apple). Right now Apple and developers make all the money on apps but if carriers ran the store they would get a cut of the revenue, right?
I do think it would be nice to be able to take my apps with me if I ever change platforms but even the sweetest HTML5 apps are still very limited compared to native iPhone apps. There's no Infinity Blade in HTML5 yet and even if there were trying to make one app work on multiple platforms often leads to a lowest common denominator approach. Is saving a few dollars with a truly universal app worth losing features that are unique to each platform or device?
Is this sour grapes from AT&T, a desire to get a piece of the app pie, or are they finally just able to say what they truly think?