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Google Dismisses App Stores; Says Future Is Browser

Search giant Google is adamant that App stores, made popular by Apple's eponymous online marketplace, are not the future even if it has launched its own version.

Vic Gundotra, Google Engineering vice president and developer evangelist, was talking at the Mobilebeat Conference in San Francisco last Thursday and claimed that Google was "not rich enough to support all of the different mobile platforms" that have cropped up recently.

He went on saying "What we clearly see happening is a move to incredibly powerful browsers. Many, many applications can be delivered through the browser and what that does for our costs is stunning. We believe the Web has won and over the next several years, the browser, for economic reasons almost, will become the platform that matters and certainly that's where Google is investing."

Interestingly, Apple, Nokia, Google and Palm uses the same Web-kit platform which, as a FT user astutely highlighted, started like as the "KDE project’s HTML layout engine KHTML and KDE's JavaScript engine (KJS)" before Apple created a fork, making some proprietary changes and then reverting those to open source.

Gundotra did gather some support from the likes of Palm and Nokia not least for backing the view that the browser will be the platform that matters. Furthermore, it makes sense for Google to push the browser since it is its native platform and its main money earner; 99 percent of Google's revenue comes from direct user interaction with their browsers.

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Our Comments

The problem is that no one wants to end up helping to create another Microsoft Windows situation where one platform is so powerful that it sucks the life out of everything else. A proprietary application store would be even more disastrous for the mobile competitive landscape.

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Désiré Athow
Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.