Orange Simplifies Mobile App Sales With Web Portal

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Orange is simplifying the submission, testing and publishing process of mobile applications that are made available in its App Shop, in an effort to attract more developers applications, it announced on Wednesday.

Orange Partner Connect will give developers a single distribution point to publish their applications to Orange subscribers in different countries. Via a Web portal, they will be able to submit applications and choose which countries and smartphones the applications are for. Developers will also be able to monitor sales and collect payments, according to Orange.

Up until now, Orange developers submitted their applications through a number of distribution partners and content providers, which worked with developers on Orange's behalf, the operator said via e-mail.

Orange is opening a beta version of the Orange Partner Connect in December for Android applications and distribution in France. Developers can also submit applications for the U.K. and Romania and they will be distributed in the first quarter of next year. By then, Java and BlackBerry applications will also be accepted.

Orange Partner Connect applications will also soon be available in Slovakia and Poland, and then rolled out to more countries across Europe, the Middle East and Africa in 2011 and beyond, the operator said.

Orange gives developers 70 percent revenue share of the apps. Developers will also be able to set a side a portion of their revenue to used for marketing their applications using dedicated ad banners or promotional campaigns, according to Orange.

Orange isn't the only operator that allows developers to publish an application once and distribute it in several countries. Vodafone also allows applications to be published to one or a selection of local markets based on relevance, a spokeswoman said via e-mail.

The operators have so far largely failed to profit from the mobile application boom, and on their own they will have a hard time competing with the likes of Apple's App Store and Google's Market, according to Paolo Pescatore, analyst at CCS Insight.

However, the operators joined forces and in February formed the Wholesale Applications Community with the goal of allowing people to use one platform to develop and distribute Web-based mobile applications that can run on a multitude of phones and be sold by the members. If the operators can deliver on that promise, they have a much better chance of making a mark in the app space, Pescatore said.

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