VoIP and messaging application provider BroadSoft, in conjunction with its BroadSoft Connections conference, today introduced a new app store, BroadSoft Marketplace, where users can browse and purchase VoIP and communications applications. In addition, through an “Xtended” program, Broadsoft-partnered operators and app developers can offer their own custom-branded app stores, and share in revenues.
Comporium, SimpleSignal, Telesphere and WorldxChange are among the first wave of operators that intend to introduce satellite application stores as 2010 begins. Although BroadSoft Marketplace is still in beta testing, it has a good selection of categorized offerings, but the Xtended program could be yet more evidence that we’re headed for a world of very fragmented app stores.
As you can see in the screenshot below, BroadSoft Marketplace offers a mix of messaging- and VoIP-oriented applications such as voicemail-to-text conversion programs and messaging extensions for platforms such as Facebook and Salesforce:
“Starting with RESTful Web services to attract the mainstream developer, we created a vibrant community of developers, which can now be sustained through commerce through the Marketplace,” Leslie Ferry, VP of marketing at BroadSoft, said in a statement. “Service providers can immediately capitalize on and monetize the creative innovation of this developer community.”
BroadSoft’s Xtended program will usher in satellite app stores, which is part of a trend toward fragmentation in all kinds of app store offerings. For example, ARCHOS has launched its own AppsLib app store for Android, which is completely separate from the Android Market.
Many critics of fragmented app stores point to Apple’s success with its very focused and centralized one for the iPhone. Proponents, though, say that more app stores give developers opportunities to submit their applications to multiple stores. IBM’s Savio Rodrigues points out in this post that open app store standards could be the wave of the future, and that “an [open] App Store standard would be less about lock-in, since the ISV isn’t locked into any of the App Stores they’ve submitted their application to.”
From that perspective, it will be interesting to see how BroadSoft’s effort to give rise to satellite app stores plays out. It’s likely to attract developers, but is it best for application users?