GetJar fears competition, ousts Opera Mini from its app store

The Opera Mini browser no longer has a home in GetJar’s app store. Following Opera’s announcement on Tuesday that it will now offer an app store accessible through its mobile browser software on Android, BlackBerry, Symbian and Java-enabled handsets, GetJar has pulled Opera’s Opera Mini mobile Web browser from its catalog. In a strikingly candid note to users, GetJar’s chief marketing officer Patrick Mork cites a fear of competition as the cause for the removal. “The simple problem is that Opera mini decided to include a competing app store in its browser,” Mork wrote in a note to GetJar users. “Although we don’t have any issue with this in principle, in practice it means that consumers might start using this app store instead of visiting GetJar to get their favourite apps. This robs GetJar of traffic and therefore of the advertising necessary to keep our service free for the more than 25 million consumers that use GetJar. It also jeopardizes an ecosystem that has generated over 1.6 billion downloads for tens of thousands of developers who depend on us to make money from their apps.” Opera Mini was one the most popular apps in GetJar’s catalog. Hit the break for the full letter.

Dear GetJar Users,

This week we had to take a very drastic and unusual step at GetJar: to remove one of our long-time favourite apps. This is something that we don’t take lightly and is nearly unprecedented in the 5+ years we’ve been distributing apps to consumers in more than 190 countries. The app in question, Opera Mini browser, had racked up more the 30 million downloads on GetJar over the last several years and was one of the most popular apps in the browser category. It was also the winner of the prestigious Gettie Award last year for best mobile app in the Windows Mobile category.

So why did we do this?

Apps on Getjar are free to download. This has always allowed us to provide quick, unrestricted and worldwide access to apps for all our users. It’s a central part of our business and philosophy and one that we find fundamental to allowing consumers to try great content no matter where they live and how they want to consume apps. However, to keep our service running GetJar needs to make money ;)

Therefore, we allow app developers to promote their applications on GetJar using advertising. Developers can obtain extra visibility to promote their apps and pay for this on a per-download-basis. This keeps your content free, keeps us running and allows developers to get extra visibility.

The simple problem is that Opera mini decided to include a competing app store in its browser. Although we don’t have any issue with this in principle, in practice it means that consumers might start using this app store instead of visiting GetJar to get their favourite apps. This robs GetJar of traffic and therefore of the advertising necessary to keep our service free for the more than 25 million consumers that use GetJar. It also jeopardizes an ecosystem that has generated over 1.6 billion downloads for tens of thousands of developers who depend on us to make money from their apps.

Don’t get me wrong: we’re happy to go head-to-head with any other app store and are certain that once you’ve tried the Opera App store you’ll find the depth of content, discovery and download from GetJar more compelling than ever. But it’s an another thing entirely to help competitors grow their business at our expense or that of our community.

We spent many months negotiating with Opera to avoid this scenario and are disappointed that GetJar consumers will no longer have access to Opera Mini. Fortunately, there are a number of excellent options on GetJar for our users including Bitstream Bolt, UC Web browser and Squace. All are excellent products.

In the meantime, we hope to resolve this solution with Opera in the future and want to thank you all for being such dedicated GetJar fans ;)

Thanks,

Patrick Mork, CMO GetJar

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