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May 15, 2008

Are Service Providers Hurting Developers?

by Darla Mack

One thing that I don't understand is the role that carriers play when it comes to content developers.  I can't speak of any goings-on outside of the US, so if someone can enlighten me to other regions please do.

Being a HUGE fan of Law and Order I went on my search of an episode that I missed last week and surfing the NBC site I came across the Law and Order Mobile game.  Since the site makes no mention of what devices can download the game, I attempted to purchase the game using the shortcode provided.

Of course, as with past attempts to get certain content on my mobile, AT&T denied my device access to its "precious" MEdia Mall stating that my device was not supported.  GRRRR!!

What is the relationship and how does it work?  I've done my own studies using an N75 on Cingular/AT&T and non-supported devices and it seems that there is some hidden boundary which cannot be broken.  So we who are armed with non-supported devices are left holding money in our hands wondering... who calls the shots here?

Do the developers know that there is a bigger market out there?  Or are they convinced that the proper chain of protocol is solely through the service providers?  And they wonder why consumers look for "alternative methods" of getting certain software.  It isn't because they don't want to pay for it, sometimes its because they just can't access it through valid channels.

The game is provided by a site called Limelife.  No where on the site is a list of supported devices, and even though it says that you must have either AT&T or T-Mobile in order to download the game, I can't help but think that if content were directed at different channels consumers, developers & providers could be happy.  The providers would be happy because in order to get the content consumers would have to use the service of data.  Couldn't that be enough for them?

While this is just a personal rant I know there are others in the mobile world that both may agree and disagree with me.  But does anyone have a solution or a more clearer view on how this actually works?  Who wins in all of this? 

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