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Yes, we *do* need a Lotus App Store...!

I've mentioned this in the past, and apparently I'm not alone in my thinking that IBM Lotus customers need a consumer-facing, click-and-install App Store.

I hinted to it in The Future of Content Delivery - where one of my favorite authors keynotes Balticon, discussing how the landscape of the publishing world has changed. I even hinted to it in The Numbers Game - where I talk about getting into the App Store arena by developing mobile device applications (specifically on the iPhone/Touch platform).

I even start calling Zune users - who find that they don't have immediate access to tons of applications after purchasing a new device vs. that of the competition (which does have an app store) - Zune shops in What can we learn from the Zune HD/Zune Marketplace 4.0 Launch?. I thought that was a pretty big hint...

And then I just come out and say it in Say it with me: App Stores define the product!:

... So where's the Lotus App Store?

You may say it's OpenNTF. For our community, I think that's as close a fit to anything that's out there and available today. But while the solutions available on the OpenNTF catalog are some of the better applications developed for our particular platform... I don't think it's enough.

We need a simple, low-cost, consumer-focused application store - where a user of a product from the Lotus product portfolio can browse through consumer-priced applications, plug-ins, add-ons, and such. The result: you'll not only empower the user to do more with their technology investment, but you'll give them ideas on how they can better use the product.

You'll also drive vendor participation and innovation - as this is absolutely an untapped revenue stream that will breed a new level of competition.

So where do we start?

That post got some pretty interesting feedback - most of it saying that we need more of a complete product catalog that IT can easily use and not a consumer-facing "click-and-add" App Store.

So, my question is - why can't we have both?

Don't think there's a need for an individual, single-user Lotus Notes Client-based application (read: consumer-end application)? The people who are actively using Time Tracker might disagree.

With the current cost of Lotus Domino Designer, anyone can get busy creating applications for the enterprise or for the individual consumer.

Think about it: if IBM were to create an App Store and mirrored the vendor/developer/consumer structure of the Apple App Store, how many new developers would you have flocking to the platform? With all of those new developers, how many killer apps do you think would be available to enterprise or individual/consumer users?

And with all of those killer apps just waiting to be downloaded as a low-cost solution to customer problems, just how many Notes shops would become even more dependant on Lotus technologies to run their day-to-day operations?

It's a win-win-win solution: IBM wins in customer retention and could easily pick up new seats by showcasing how easy it is to add new applications to the platform, as well as how viable and lively the solution is based on App Store submissions and customer usage/downloads, the developers get paid for their contributions, and the consumer - our customer - gets their problems addressed, and can thus work smarter!

About the author: Chris Toohey

Thought Leadership, Web & Mobile Application Development, Solutions Integration, Technical Writing & Mentoring

A published developer and webmaster of, Chris Toohey specializes in platform application development, solutions integration, and evangelism of platform capabilities and best practices.

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