Most news sources seem to agree that the BlackBerry App World is a decent first try from RIM but really needs more to make it stand out in the crowd. In a recent interview Mike Lazaridis had with Laptop Magazine (via FierceDeveloper) he said that carrier billing is something that they are working on currently for the App World as an alternative to PayPal. I find that PayPal is pretty painless here in the US but a friend of mine got me thinking. Outside of the US and a select few countries many people find it a bit of a pain to use PayPal in their local currency. In those cases carrier billing may make sense.
On the other hand I feel that carrier billing may just cause more problems. Carriers are notorious for charging crazy high transaction fees (about 50% last time I heard) compared to PayPal’s average of about 3%. Maybe if RIM could bargain down all of their carriers to a similar price point that would actually make sense. If not those fees could take a big chunk out of the commissions app developers make. Personally I can also see an alternative where RIM could act as the payment gateway for the App World just like Apple does for the iTunes store…
As a side note Lazaridis actually mentioned that the minimum $2.99 price point was actually something they came up with along with their developers. They claim that the developers said they did not feel like they were making money at anything less than that. I guess they never took a look at the $.99 apps in the iTunes store… The funny part is that he prefaces that by saying: “We needed to give them much more flexibility and freedom as to how they price their applications…”
So I am curious what do you think?