AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson doesn’t think the App Store model is what consumers want
. In fact, a week after the public release of the Verizon iPhone (AT&T has been the iPhone’s exclusive carrier in the US since 2007), he thinks carriers (surprise) should sell apps to consumers as HTML5 pieces of software available through the “Wholesale Applications Community” — an app store set up by carriers.
Stephenson doesn’t explicitly mention Apple, but the statement speaks for itself:
You purchase an app for one operating system, and if you want it on another device or platform, you have to buy it again,” Stephenson said in a keynote speech at the world’s largest mobile-phone trade show in Barcelona, Spain. “That’s not how our customers expect to experience this environment.
The move to universal webapps that run on any environment is great, we just think the timing of this statement is quite interesting. After all, AT&T isn’t happy about losing exclusivity of the iPhone in the United States. And the commercials prove that, in a weekly effort to convince consumers that their network is better, while just about any review of the Verizon iPhone confirmed that Big Red’s network is more reliable, although slower with data transfers.
Still, AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and T-Mobile have all teamed up to sell HTML5 apps in the Wholesale Applications Community. I wonder if this app store will come with an iPhone-optimized mobile interface.