Should Automakers Build their Own App Stores?

In the last 12 months a number of automakers have announced and sometimes already launched new in vehicle infotainment systems that feature their own, built-in app stores. It sounded great and innovative at first sight, but the more I looked at it the less I find it sustainable in the long run.

Whether they want it or not these app stores are de facto competing with mobile app stores. Consumers have embraced app stores on their smartphones because of the large choice and the low price of apps. These two appealing elements are obviously driven by the large size of the mobile smartphone market that enables developers to make a business even if their apps are priced for a few dollars.

This large addressable market unfortunately does not in the automotive world, therefore there is little incentive for most app developers to build specific apps for car makers. In addition to that the cost of connectivity to run these apps shall be supported by either the car maker or the end customer, none of them having the willingness to pay.

I recently had the opportunity to explain this vision in a more detailed and sophisticated way to a room full of car manufacturers and infotainment automotive suppliers thanks to an invitation from the GENIVI Alliance which hosted a well attended members meeting last week near Paris.

See the slides below. Your comments and critics are more than welcome in the comment section under the slide deck!

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