Opera just announced that it will be launching a mobile app store of its own that will feature around 140,000 free and paid apps for mobile platforms like Android and BlackBerry. The folks at Opera might not have taken a breather from pushing this news out to thousands of media publications and we are hearing chatter that GetJar, one of the largest independent app store, has ejected Opera Mini from its app store.
Apparently GetJar has decided to walk down this lane, because by launching its own mobile app store, Opera Mini browser effectively became a competitor to GetJar. In explaining the move to PaidContent, GetJar stated:
The simple problem is that Opera mini decided to include a competing app store in its browser. Although we don’t have any issue with this in principle, in practice it means that consumers might start using this app store instead of visiting GetJar to get their favourite apps. This robs GetJar of traffic and therefore of the advertising necessary to keep our service free for the more than 25 million consumers that use GetJar. It also jeopardizes an ecosystem that has generated over 1.6 billion downloads for tens of thousands of developers who depend on us to make money from their apps. Don’t get me wrong: we’re happy to go head-to-head with any other app store and are certain that once you’ve tried the Opera App store you’ll find the depth of content, discovery and download from GetJar more compelling than ever. But it’s an another thing entirely to help competitors grow their business at our expense or that of our community. We spent many months negotiating with Opera to avoid this scenario and are disappointed that GetJar consumers will no longer have access to Opera Mini. Fortunately, there are a number of excellent options on GetJar for our users including Bitstream Bolt, UC Web browser and Squace. All are excellent products.
So it seems that GetJar tried for months to convince Opera not to launch a competing product and let GetJar have a free ride across the terrain. It turns out that Opera was unwilling to budge and went ahead with it own app store ambitions. Who can blame them when the stakes are so high as analysts are predicting that revenues from Apps could reach $50 billion by 2014.
GetJar is not the first App Store to have ejected an app on grounds of being a competitor. As it turns out, Google was the first to do so when it ejected Kongregate App from Android Marketplace. Although Google’s official statement on the move was that Kongregate violated the Android Marketplace terms of service, we had a feeling that the move was a result of Kongregate being a competitor, since it is a marketplace for free mobile games.
Kongregate has since been able to get back into Android Marketplace by making a few changes to its app. However, we dont think that the GetJar-Opera saga will have a similar ending. The reason being that Kongregate is only a marketplace for mobile games and hence competes with only a subset of Android Marketplace apps. GetJar and Opera on the other hand are direct competitors. Therefore it makes perfect sense on GetJar’s part to eject Opera and even more sense on Opera’s part to have a mobile app store of its own.