Open Certification Processes: Key to App Store Success?

23 11 2009

Last week, the long time Mac coder Rogue Amoeba resigned from the Apple App Store in frustration at the approvals process, stating that a simple bug fix took almost four months of “slow replies, delays, and dithering by Apple” before being cleared for public consumption.

Over the past few months Apple has made some efforts in making their approvals process more open, recently allowing developers to see how apps are progressing on the Dev Centre site. However, as this post by CNET shows, the administrative challenge faced by an App Store owner is huge, with each member of the approvals team having to review an application every six minutes.

With the Apple App Store already offering over 100,000 applications, how can competing storefronts ever hope to catch-up whilst still ensuring quality content? Google has taken the approach to only check the technical performance of the application and then allow the users to flag unsuitable content; however those technical tests still represent a costly and time consuming process.

One option would be to put those processes into the hands of the developer themselves, who already thoroughly test their applications before submission to ensure solid reviews. Companies could simply submit their application along with a video recording, screenshots and other pre-determined data points to provide an extremely simple and coherent submission platform.

This process would benefit everyone from store owner to developer through to consumer:

  • Store owners bypass an expensive and time consuming process, whilst benefitting from a steady stream of quality content and applications
  • Developers gain access to a more open certification process that allows them to get their content into stores faster and more cost-effectively than before
  • Consumers gain access to a range of content in a more timely manner, whilst benefitting from ensured quality controls

With global mobile application downloads predicted to grow to 18.7 billion by 2014 the opportunity for the entire mobile ecosystem looks bright, however only if we put in place the controls and processes which will allow this market to grow at this pace today.

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