With partners like Verizon, who needs adversaries?

September 14, 2010: 10:46 AM ET

Verizon is said to be building a rival Android market that will supplant Google's own.

You'd think that Verizon (VZ) putting Microsoft's (MSFT) rival search and mapping engines on Google's phone OS is the worst thing they'd do to Google this week.  According to "Android and Me" you might be wrong.  The blog says that Verizon is planning its own alternative app store, one that is curated like Apple's (AAPL) iOS App Store.

Verizon's VCast Store will only work (At least initially) with Android 2.2 devices like the Droids.  It also promises to promote the top tier applications, leaving all of those thousands of fart-type apps for the Android Market.  It also will cater to Verizon-only apps, like Skype, which have signed exclusivity agreements.

Verizon's bullet points:

  • It's Free – No Testing Fees
  • It's Fast – Our Goal is to place your application in the App Store within 14 days of Submission
  • Abbreviated Click-Thru Agreement
  • Carrier Billing – Your applications are billed directly to the Customer's Bill; No credit cards, PayPal, etc.
  • 70/30 Revenue Share – 70% Developer / 30% Verizon
  • Hands-on, Experienced Content Programming Team – Get the visibility you deserve, not just a quality-crushing algorithm!
  • Content Programming and Store continuity across multiple platforms (BlackBerry & Android)
  • Integration with Network APIs! Messaging & GPS
  • Detailed submission guides online and forums monitored by our support staff
  • Subscription Billing – Coming Soon!

One major advantage Verizon touts is that billing will be put on the customer's phone bill rather than having to put a credit card or Paypal/Google Checkout account down.  Google (GOOG) has agreements in place with other operators to do this already with the Android Market.

Google also currently gives carriers their own tab in the Android Market to fill with their own exclusive apps or ones that they deem worthy.  But that obviously isn't enough for Verizon.

So Verizon has pulled Google revenue-generating search from its phones and now is trying to supplant the Android Market?  This to a company that has given it an answer to Apple's iPhone and at the same time has gone to bat for Verizon in the Net Neutrality debates?  Classy!

Perhaps Verizon is helping Google deal with any guilt that comes with turning the carriers into dumb pipes with the full version of Google Voice.

This, like most of Verizon's recent moves, are going to negatively impact their customers the most.  Customers will have to open two stores (if Verizon even let's Google's offering on board without a hack) and search both for apps they want.  Google doesn't make money on Android Market purchases so this isn't a huge loss for them.  Verizon stands to make a few more bucks and differentiate their Android platform from the other carriers.

More info (like an official announcement) will probably be released at the Verizon Developers Conference September 22-24th.

The Email sent to developers is pasted below:

Dear Developer,

Verizon Wireless has opened Android submissions for V CAST Apps! We are preparing to launch V CAST Apps across our industry-leading lineup of Android handsets, and we want to give you the opportunity to get in on the ground floor.

As you know, merchandising your Android app through other channels can be a challenge, this is how V CAST Apps can make a difference to you:

Why submit your Android applications to the V CAST App Store?

It's Free – No Testing Fees
It's Fast – Our Goal is to place your application in the App Store within 14 days of Submission
Abbreviated Click-Thru Agreement
Carrier Billing – Your applications are billed directly to the Customer's Bill; No credit cards, PayPal, etc.
70/30 Revenue Share – 70% Developer / 30% Verizon
Hands-on, Experienced Content Programming Team – Get the visibility you deserve, not just a quality-crushing algorithm!
Content Programming and Store continuity across multiple platforms (BlackBerry & Android)
Integration with Network APIs! Messaging & GPS
Detailed submission guides online and forums monitored by our support staff
Subscription Billing – Coming Soon!

If you have not done so already, please go to http://developer.verizon.com/ today and register now in order to receive updates.

Once registered, you can start submitting your applications today!

We currently utilize a (2) step process for ingesting developer content:

Step #1 Application Concept Submission:

An application concept is simply a high-level description of your application so that Verizon may approve the content for sale within our catalog. Certain information, such as developer contact info and screen shots are for our review purposes only and will not be published to the end-user. You will have the opportunity, during the binary submission phase, to submit end-user screen shots, generic contact information and pricing. Application concepts must be approved before you can submit your binaries. Additionally, you will be notified at each step of the review process, giving you full visibility into our approval system. If you have already submitted a concept for the same application for BlackBerry, please resubmit another concept for Android to ensure expedient approval.

Click here for more information.

Step #2 Binary Submission:

Once an application concept has been moved to the "Approved" status, you can submit your binaries for your Android app. We perform basic testing at this time, and once approved we publish to our catalog.

Binary submission will open for Incredible, Droid 1 and Droid X on September 1st.

V CAST Apps will be deployed on Android OS 2.2 (FroYo) only for now, so please ensure your binaries are compatible. We will not be rolling V CAST Apps out to earlier versions of the Android OS. When additional OS's are supported, you will have the option to submit by both device and OS, but for now 2.2 is the standard.

Questions:

If you have any questions, that have not been answered or published in our Dev. Center, please go to our forums http://developer.verizon.com/forum/forums/list.page. Our forums have 100′s of posts from developers that are actively monitored by our support staff.

As we are heads-down preparing for Android launch, we apologize if you have already received this or a similar communication. We look forward to your participation in the Verizon Developer Community!

All the best,

V CAST Apps Team
Verizon Wireless

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About This Author
Seth Weintraub
Seth Weintraub

Google went from searching the Web to worming its way into nearly every facet of business and government. Seth Weintraub unveils where the company is going, who it's competing with, who it's about to compete with and how market forces push the company to veer or adhere to its Don't Be Evil motto. For 15 years, Weintraub was a global IT director for a number of companies before becoming a blogger.

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