Another nail has been hammered into the coffin of that great hope for mobile operators to fight back – the branded app store. As if the ill-fated demise of the GSMA led Wholesale Applications Community (WAC) earlier this year was not enough warning, some operators persisted in fighting on, with Verizon Wireless being the latest to throw in the towel.

FierceMobileContent reports that Verizon’s own app store will disappear in January and the company anticipates having its Verizon Apps application remotely removed from all devices by March 27, 2013. However, customers should be comforted in the knowledge that, “most apps available through Verizon Apps are also available through other app storefronts.” Small comfort?

According to the report, “Apps billed via a monthly subscription will be pulled from the storefront first and will be discontinued for current subscribers in December.” Business App user will fare better as the Business App store “will continue to be available for purchase and download to enterprise customers.”

The news was supposedly broken via a company blog post but a search of Verizon Wireless’ website surprisingly failed to uncover any blogs or news items referring to the closure. The best I could find was a blog titled, “An Easier Way to Find the Perfect Apps,” no doubt, this will have to be altered to direct Verizon customers elsewhere.

What is it about in-house app stores that is failing to get the attention, and dollars, of mobile customers? Is it the choices available, the means of purchase, the store-front designs, what? It has been suggested that most operators did too little, too late, and that app purchasers had already become ensconced in the app stores provided by the device manufacturers that had mastered their own eco-systems years before.

Whatever the reasons, they should be investigated thoroughly and lessons learnt be applied in future endeavours to stem OTT domination of key market sectors. Or is too late for those, too?

First published at Telco Professionals on 7 November 2012