Is a difficult question, but thankfully it isn't one with a right or wrong answer. I'm going to tell you my opinion. If you agree, let me know in the comments below. If you don't agree, let me know in the comments below.
Yet another app store. Facebook introduced it yesterday: Facebook announces the App Center. I've covered the news part, but after I've had some time to sleep on it and mull it over, I want to go over some quick analysis. I've decided it's
The reasoning is quite simple. In my previous piece I wrote "Whether you're a Facebook user or a third-party developer, think of it like the Apple App Store or the Google Play store, but for Facebook" in the introduction. It's more than that, because Facebook isn't just competing with Apple and Google: the social networking giant is also helping them.
You see, the App Center will send traffic to both the Android and iOS app stores. If it's just a Web app, you'll be able to use it right there and then. If you're browsing the Facebook App Center on your Android or iOS device and find an app you want, however, you'll be able to click through and install it from the Apple App Store or Google Play store.
As such, Facebook will be distributing apps for multiple companies, for multiple platforms, for multiple devices, from just one place. Facebook's mobile statement from last year ("We're going to become a mobile company") is getting clearer and clearer every day.
So, what's the advantage for Facebook? I believe it is two-fold.
Facebook will soon have the biggest cross-platform app store. This is part of Facebook's larger strategy to do more than just be a social network (see Why Facebook acquired Instagram for $1 billion).
Facebook wants to own everything that is social. Facebook wants its users to see it as more than just a social service. Facebook wants to be the definition of social.
As such, the App Center is an attempt to become the main destination for social apps, regardless of what platform they run on. Facebook has over 901 million monthly active users and over 488 million mobile monthly active users. That's huge distribution potential that developers will not want to miss out on.
Facebook has already shown many times that it can drive a ton of traffic to Android and iOS apps. It's no coincidence that Seven of the top ten grossing iOS apps and six of the top ten grossing Android apps are integrated with Facebook.
There's a second point that follows the first very closely. Because Facebook will soon have such a large successful app store (yes, I'm assuming this will happen – it could very well fail miserably), more developers will consider integrating Facebook into their apps. Right now, Facebook is calling on third-party developers to create detail pages for their apps.
This is just the beginning. Once Facebook has numbers to share, it will begin telling all developers that they should add their app to the Facebook App Center. Currently, developers start off with one or two platforms (Android, iOS, BlackBerry, Windows Phone) and then expand to the next platform in search of more revenue. Here's the most important part: it's much easier to add Facebook functionality to your current app than to port your app to a new platform.
Right now, Facebook has just one requirement: "To grow your mobile app through the App Center, your app needs to use Facebook Login." Once it becomes massive, Facebook could add more.