AT&T CEO: Apple’s App Store Bad for Consumers

Apple’s App Store for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, along with Google’s Android Market, are bad for consumers, according to AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, since they are platform-specific. Instead, he thinks mobile apps should be coded in HTML 5 so they can run on any device.

Mr. Stephenson shared his thoughts on mobile apps during a presentation at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, according to USATODAY.

“You purchase an app for one operating system, and if you want it on another device or platform, you have to buy it again,” he said. “That’s not how our customers expect to experience this environment.”

His comments come just days after AT&T lost its exclusive carrier status for Apple’s iPhone and the launch of a Verizon-compatible version of the combination iPod and smartphone.

By abandoning platform native coding and switching to HTML 5 and Web apps, AT&T can push customers to the Wholesale Applications Community — which officially launched on February 14. The WAC lets customers buy HTML 5-based apps that should run on any mobile device.

Apps sold through the WAC won’t be able to take advantage of device-specific features, which may make them less valuable to customers. Assuming customers plan to jump from iPhone to Android OS and again to Windows Phone 7, however, a purchase-once-run-everywhere model could have some appeal.

Competing with the App Store won’t be an easy task, so don’t expect WAC partners AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile to bring Apple’s app distribution system to its knees any time soon.