Yesterday, we reported that Opera Software had launched its own app store called Opera Mobile Store. It appears that within a day of its launch, Opera has managed to ruffle some feathers. Earlier today, Opera Mini was kicked out of GetJar one of the largest multi-platform mobile application repositories. The reason is quite obvious. Updated versions of Opera Mini and Opera Mobile include a speed dial entry to Opera Mobile Store, thus effectively bundling the app store with the browser.
While it’s true that Opera Mini violated GetJar’s ToS (Terms of Service), I find it hard to be entirely supportive of GetJar’s decision. It’s something I would have anticipated from Apple, but not from GetJar. Nevertheless, at least, GetJar isn’t trying hiding behind false pretenses. Patrick Mork, Chief Marketing Officer of GetJar admitted that competition is the reason Opera Mini was pulled.
The simple problem is that Opera mini decided to include a competing app store in its browser. Although we don’t have any issue with this in principle, in practice it means that consumers might start using this app store instead of visiting GetJar to get their favourite apps. This robs GetJar of traffic and therefore of the advertising necessary to keep our service free for the more than 25 million consumers that use GetJar. It also jeopardizes an ecosystem that has generated over 1.6 billion downloads for tens of thousands of developers who depend on us to make money from their apps. Don’t get me wrong: we’re happy to go head-to-head with any other app store and are certain that once you’ve tried the Opera App store you’ll find the depth of content, discovery and download from GetJar more compelling than ever. But it’s an another thing entirely to help competitors grow their business at our expense or that of our community.
Before being banned, Opera Mini was one of the most popular apps in GetJar, with a total of more than 30 million downloads. Apparently, GetJar and Opera has been in discussions for the past several months. The discussions are still going on, and Opera Software has indicated that it is interested in working with GetJar to find a reasonable solution. So, don’t rule out a comeback yet.