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This paper examines the phenomenon of the generic app store as a `foe', i.e. detrimental to Telcos' business, versus the role of a `friend', i.e. a valuable tool to compete in the emerging Telecom/Web landscape. Some successful app stores are run by device manufacturers and device OS vendors, and some Telcos are seeing a modest success too. The paper suggests that there is much more to gain from a Telco app store where apps enhance communications. The App Stores is a `friend' because it educates users to demand rich voice and - most importantly, to pay for apps, albeit small fees. It legitimizes the notion of a `disposable app', allowing Telcos to deliver `perpetual Beta' and get away with no user support. The plethora of popular Data apps through the app stores has marginalized Voice, but there is still great scope for related apps that `augment' reality. With IMS, Telco can differentiate app stores by offering multi-terminal, Fixed and Mobile synchronization facilities. Most of all, app stores are becoming the decisive factor in users choosing a network and a key interface to them that Telcos cannot afford to lose.
Date of Conference: 11-14 Oct. 2010