The number of Wi-Fi locations and Wi-Fi on the iPhone and iPod touch made the creation of iPass Global Wi-Fi service a no-brainer, says Piero DePaoli, senior director of global product marketing for iPass.
1. What is it that you think differentiates your company from other App Store developers?
While our software is free, there is also a service behind the app which can help users and ultimately the enterprise be more productive and save money. Individuals can download the app and buy a monthly subscription for the Wi-Fiservice. Corporate customers can download the app and enter a corporate configuration code to use their enterprise user credentials, which means the service is customized for the enterprise and billed directly to the enterprise..
2. What do you think of the new 3.0 SDK? Got any ideas who you might change your app to take advantage of all the new features?
Our app is all about making easy connections to Wi-Fi networks. Although the 3.0 SDK has some neat features, we’re not anticipating changes to our app at this point.
3. What’s your take on the idea of a premium app section in the App Store for apps selling for $19.99? Think it's a good idea and if so, how do you think buyers benefit?
It depends on what constitutes a premium app. For example, I just paid $29.99 for an app because it was really compelling to me but I also admit that I spend a lot of time trying out free apps and then simply deleting them if I don’t find them useful. I’d see a premium section being good for buyers because it will allow for some companies to build some amazing tools knowing that there is marketplace for richer apps.
4. The research analysts are all declaring the iPhone fit for the enterprise. You probably agree. Why the change now?
Regardless of what the research analysts say, the iPhone is in the enterprise and the smart IT departments have figured out a way to embrace it, control overall costs and make their employees more productive than their competitors. The moment Apple introduced Microsoft Exchange integration for the iPhone and iPod touch, it became fit for the enterprise.
5. Do you see gaps between the iPhone and enterprise that you think app devs should address?
I think the apps on the App Store are already providing amazing tools for the enterprise and don’t see a big gap there. The gap I see is a lack of tools that can be used by the enterprise to manage the corporate data on these devices. The basics exist, but the iPhone and iPod touch are more like a small PC or Internet device than a phone.
6. Increasingly, bigger companies are entering the app biz with bigger budgets, larger dev teams and marketing. Whenever that happens in the software business, it's almost always followed by a shakeout of the smaller players. Do you think that's what will happen in the App Store?
I think the App Store is different than what we’ve previously seen in the software business. It provides a platform that can put a small company and big company on a more level playing field because the user has to go to App Store to get either company’s app.
7. Dev cycles will get longer as buyers expect more from apps. What does that mean to your company and other companies? Do you foresee pricing climbing over the next year?
I think the buyer’s expectation of an app is directly correlated to the price of the app –- or in iPass’ case –- the price of the service behind the app. In the case of totally free apps, buyers are hopeful that it will be provide what they are looking for but if it doesn’t, buyers aren’t surprised. If the app or underlying service has fees associated with it, buyers expectations will be that they are getting sufficient value out of the app for the price paid.
8. Many devs have concerns about the App Store pricing model. Has it been a problem for you and if so, what do you think is the problem and if so, what's your solution? Would trial apps be an option for you?
The App Store pricing model has not been a concern for us at all because our app is free to download. In fact, if we were required to charge for our app, it would create more friction for an enterprise user to get the app.
9. Do you plan to release your apps in Nokia, Blackberry and other app stores?
Nokia was released in conjunction with the iPhone, and we have plans for Blackberry later this year.