Verizon is said to be building a rival Android market that will supplant Google’s own.
You’d think that Verizon (VZ) putting Microsoft’s (MSFT) rival search and mapping engines on Google’s phone OS is the worst thing they’d do to Google this week. According to “Android and Me” you might be wrong. The blog says that Verizon is planning its own alternative app store, one that is curated like Apple’s (AAPL) iOS App Store.
Verizon’s VCast Store will only work (At least initially) with Android 2.2 devices like the Droids. It also promises to promote the top tier applications, leaving all of those thousands of fart-type apps for the Android Market. It also will cater to Verizon-only apps, like Skype, which have signed exclusivity agreements.
Verizon’s bullet points:
One major advantage Verizon touts is that billing will be put on the customer’s phone bill rather than having to put a credit card or Paypal/Google Checkout account down. Google (GOOG) has agreements in place with other operators to do this already with the Android Market.
Google also currently gives carriers their own tab in the Android Market to fill with their own exclusive apps or ones that they deem worthy. But that obviously isn’t enough for Verizon.
So Verizon has pulled Google revenue-generating search from its phones and now is trying to supplant the Android Market? This to a company that has given it an answer to Apple’s iPhone and at the same time has gone to bat for Verizon in the Net Neutrality debates? Classy!
Perhaps Verizon is helping Google deal with any guilt that comes with turning the carriers into dumb pipes with the full version of Google Voice.
This, like most of Verizon’s recent moves, are going to negatively impact their customers the most. Customers will have to open two stores (if Verizon even let’s Google’s offering on board without a hack) and search both for apps they want. Google doesn’t make money on Android Market purchases so this isn’t a huge loss for them. Verizon stands to make a few more bucks and differentiate their Android platform from the other carriers.
More info (like an official announcement) will probably be released at the Verizon Developers Conference September 22-24th.
The Email sent to developers is pasted below: