Verizon Wireless has been plugging away on its own carefully-controlled mobile app store for years now — the carrier had planned to beef up the app discovery process with Chomp before Apple acquired the company, and it implemented new ESRB app content ratings not long ago — but now it looks like all that work may have been for naught. According to a notice spotted by AllThingsD, Verizon aims to shutter its mobile app store completely within the next few months.
The carrier has already discontinued new app submissions as of a few days ago, but the process is due to start in earnest this January when Verizon plans to begin actively “removing the Verizon Apps application from ALL compatible Android & RIM devices.” Verizon is aiming to have all those smartphones cleaned up by March, which strikes me as a pretty ambitious timeline — presumably, OTA updates have to be cooked up for each device model in question and getting those fixes out into the wild can be a sketchy proposition at times.
Though the move has got to sting for some developers, one has to wonder how Verizon Wireless’s customers will take the news — for what it’s worth, my money’s on the VZW subscriber base letting out a massive collective yawn.
I’ve never quite understood the value of carrier-sanctioned app stores for consumers, especially since the Google Play Store and BlackBerry App World contain all of Verizon’s spotlighted apps as well as thousands of others. If anything, the only real upside to purchasing from Verizon’s app store was that you could charge your impulse app purchases directly to your monthly bill, but even that’s a non-issue since the Google Play Store rolled out carrier billing support for Verizon last week. That, coupled with the fact that RIM seems more concerned about whipping BlackBerry 10 developers into a frenzy than supporting the BlackBerry 7 ecosystem in the U.S. makes it seem as though Verizon is finally just giving up on a dead-end endeavor.