While I think the upcoming HandMarket Apps store on Windows Mobile device is looking great, I agree with Stacey over at GigaOM that carrier-branded and online distributor stores may present more confusion in the mobile application market and we could end up back where we started with several software distributors, except now on your phone rather than on the desktop. I think Apple is successful with the App Store because it is the only way to get apps on your iPhone/iPod touch and the process is made extremely easy for the consumer. Others are trying to model this success, but I don't think a fractured market is the way to do it.
Knowledgeable smartphone owners will know right away that their Palm Pre, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, or Android device is missing the specific operating system application store when they see only a Verizon store on their devices. I think new smartphone owners may not know there are operating system versions and may actually like the Verizon store. One benefit is that the consumer can go to Verizon to handle all of their software issues, which actually may end up being pretty costly for Verizon. Another consumer benefit is carrier billing for apps. With the rumor that Verizon may eventually get the Apple iPhone, it doesn't seem to make much sense for Verizon to spend time and money with this effort when there is no way Apple is going to take off the App Store to put on the Verizon store.
Do you think wireless carriers and device manufacturers should just stick with their operating system store or do you think it is good for carriers to have branded stores?