How to make money from mobile apps?

Jim Donnelly
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OCRI event meant to showcase new business models

Rob Woodbridge admits it's tough making money selling mobile applications.

(Stock image)

But the founder of also says the fast growth of the mobile app industry has led to other, more lucrative business models for those in the space – models more advanced than simply hawking a handheld video game for a toonie.

"Selling applications isn't a viable business anymore," says Mr. Woodbridge, also the former president and CEO of Rove. "But the mobile industry has opened up at least a dozen other ways to generate revenue that traditional software makers didn't have before."

Mobile applications became a hot topic quickly after Apple launched its App Store in July 2008. Since then, other hardware providers have followed suit – resulting in the development of over 350,000 mobile apps and millions in revenue for firms.

But Mr. Woodbridge says the industry is rapidly changing, and that's the theme of this Thursday's inaugural OCRI SmarTALKS event – a monthly event meant to usurp the now-retired Technology Executive Breakfast – which Mr. Woodbridge will moderate.

The presentation and networking session, entitled "How to Make Money in Mobile Apps", will also feature a panel of high-octane local mobile experts including Research In Motion's Paul Dumais, Magmic's Jeff Bacon and "free agent" Phil Giroux.

Mr. Dumais helped develop RIM's AppWorld store. Magmic product manager Mr. Bacon "has implemented every conceivable revenue generating tactic known to man," says Mr. Woodbridge, and Mr. Giroux is a former VP of Magmic with considerable experience negotiating distribution deals.

"The panel brings 40-plus combined years of mobile experience together and not just focused on software development, each of us have been in or started companies that have actually made money selling mobile applications," says Mr. Woodbridge.

Mr. Woodbridge points out that every member of the panel, including himself, have worked or currently work for Magmic boss John Criswick. The event wil also take place at the Mercury Lounge, a relatively upscale ByWard Market club owned by Mr. Criswick.

"He's a huge reason why we have mobile expertise in Ottawa," he adds.

OCRI's SmarTALKS event starts at 4 p.m. on Sept. 23.



Organizations: Apple, App Store, Mercury Lounge

Geographic location: Ottawa

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