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9/15/2011
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Ed Hansberry
Ed Hansberry
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Verizon Application Store Targets Enterprise

Service lets enterprises publish private apps and control which apps its users can install.

When it comes to application management on smartphones today, these are the days of the wild west, much like the early 90s were for PCs. There are relatively few controls that limit what a user can install. It's often possible to block the install of every app, but beyond that it gets tough. Verizon is hoping to change that with its new product that allows companies to set up private storefronts that offer only preapproved applications.

Called the Verizon Wireless Private Applications Store for Business, companies will establish their own catalog of products. First and foremost, companies will be able to write and publish their own apps for users to download, such as sales material, order taking tools, and just about anything else that links back to the enterprise resource planning system. This eliminates the nasty proposition of publishing private apps in a public store, or connecting every device to a developer machine to sideload the app.

Companies will also be enabled to publish approved third-party tools suitable for business. Apps that would make sense include travel, weather, and productivity. Now private line-of-business apps could be right next to the Weather Channel and Evernote, both tools that traveling employees use to stay more productive, but you don't have to worry about anyone on the outside getting your private app.

The service is platform agnostic, so it should satisfy users running iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and Blackberry, at a minimum. Verizon didn't detail exactly how the applications store would be installed on the device. Apple and Microsoft, for example, have gone to great lengths to block out any other application store from their devices to prevent malicious apps from getting on their devices. This practice can potentially compromise user privacy or just give such a bad performance experience that the phone is blamed for the problem instead of a bad software developer.

According to FireceWireless this will initially be aimed at large enterprises.

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