Mobile Entertainment just published an interview about Ovi Store with Niklas Savander who is head of Nokia Services. Ovi Store is Nokia's application store that will open this month (May 2009).
First of, Savander tells us that there are going to be 20.000 content items available at launch day. Wow, did he just say they are going to have 20.000 applications available for Nokia phones on launch day? No, he did not, he said content items, you know, like RSS feeds, ring tones, background pictures, icons...
To me, it really sound like Savander is trying to play down people's expectations. Take this quote for example:
"This is clearly not an issue when you only have one product. But we’re trying to get to a broader audience than iPhone. The main aim is consistency – there has to be logic even across different devices or when there is co-branding with operators."
To me that sounds a bit like "please, don't expect the Ovi Store to work as well as Apple's AppStore since we are facing so many more problems."
An example of how watered down the Ovi Store is becoming because of resistance from operators can be seen in this quote:
"In every market there will be two variants of Ovi – an open market version and one developed with a partner operator."
This is a customer oriented solution only for those customers who are saying "please, confuse me".
Savander is also asked about how to decide if an application should be allowed in the Ovi Store or not. The question specifically mentions how "other app stores" (=Apple) have been criticized for rejecting applications. Savander begins by answering "anything goes", but then continues more like a disclaimer. He mentions Spotify as an example of a service that could destroy Nokia's music download store, how applications must not make use of too much bandwidth, how violence in games is an issue, issues regarding morality and how each country will have it's own offering "to protect cultural differences". When specifically asked about VoIP, Savander answers "we leave it to the operator to make decisions about what’s acceptable".
In the entire article, I only spotted one positive thing: Nokia's cooperation with each operator means that they can bill end users through their telephone bills (or prepaid cards I suppose). Nokia is not going to be limited only to customers with credit cards and this is going to give them volume.
It will be interesting to see how this turns out. Nokia is going to be compared to Apple and the AppStore and I doubt the comparison is going to be favorable for Nokia.