Verizon is going to launch its own app store in an effort to compete with the Google Play Store on Android devices, claims a report from The Information. The new store will be available globally and is the result of a partnership with other carriers and hardware makers, says the report. In 2010, Verizon Wireless launched a similar app store for Android and BlackBerry smartphones in the US, but it shuttered it in January 2013. The Information says the discussions for a new app store are still in an early stage, and there is not a concrete date for when it would launch.
However, Recode received a statement from Verizon saying that the carrier had no plans to offer a new app store. "We have no plans to do that," Verizon spokeswoman Debra Lewis said. "Been there. Done that." Amir Efrati from The Information tweeted the following in response: "I and @theinformation stand by this report 100%." Efrait also said that "Verizon's comment is misleading."
The Information claims that this new effort is a response to recent cutbacks from Google in revenue sharing with carriers and hardware makers for apps sold through the Google Play Store. Verizon would be stemming future losses with its own app store, as revenues from app store sales are expected to grow significantly over the next few years. The report says that Verizon would also use data like location, time of day, and social indicators to recommend apps to users.
Sprint also recently announced an app store of its own, called the App Pass. App Pass is a subscription service, similar to Netflix, which offers apps through a store separate from Google Play for a monthly fee.
Carrier maintained app stores are typically inferior to Google's or Apple's offerings
Carrier maintained app stores have typically been inferior to Google's and Apple's offerings, with fewer app selections and less frequent updates. They have also typically been more difficult to use and less integrated with the other services that come baked-in on today's smartphones. Amazon has long maintained its own app store for Kindle Fire devices, but even it has had trouble attracting the same levels of attention from app makers as Google.
Should Verizon follow through with this plan to launch its own store, it will need to aggressively court developers and give them incentives to put their apps in its store, something that is often easier said than done. There is also no clear indication how a Verizon-owned app store would benefit users, which have access to the full Google Play Store already and have the ability to add app purchases to their wireless bills each month.
Update, 4:00 PM ET: Recode says that a Verizon spokesperson denied the report from The Information, saying that it has no plans to launch its own app store. This post has been updated to reflect Verizon's statement.