Image representing Zoho as depicted in CrunchBaseZoho is launching their application marketplace today. Like other similar offerings, the Zoho location is a place where customers can come and browse different applications, try them out and buy them (or get ’em for free in some cases). Think of it as iTunes for apps.

The difference between Zoho’s offering and those of other players, is in keeping with the differences between Zoho and its competitors in other marketplaces – and it’s a difference which has garnered them attention a little disproportionate to their size. Instead of charging users for application from the marketplace – Zoho passes them on at whatever cost the developer wants (including free if necessary). Zoho is happy with the potential of some downstream revenue created from the fact that the applications are created on their own product, Zoho Creator, and if users go over a certain level their is a charge for use of that product (bear in mind that their pricing kicks in at a pretty high level – for 10 Apps shared with less than 5 users, Zoho Creator is free.). It’s kind of like Apple not charging for downloads from iTunes – secure in the knowledge that they make coin off of selling iPods!

So far the range of applications in the marketplace is a little limited (it only launched today after all) but the different categories give you a taste of what can be done, and what’s to come. Zoho’s rationale for creating the marketplace goes like this;

There are many applications out there that are not available off the shelf, but are needed in a particular use case or situation, but there is not enough market for vendors to offer such situated software as the need could be specific to a use case or an individual/business.
Zoho Marketplace is trying to address this particular need. This market is not big enough for vendors to make a living and not small enough to ignore. With Zoho Marketplace, we hope to connect developers directly with users to create and purchase such applications providing a platform in Zoho Creator.

It’s great to see an alternative to the salesforce and Google offerings and it’ll be interesting to see how the marketplace develops over time.

Check out the video below (a little cheesy admittedly but interesting nonetheless!) and the somewhat more serious one further down.

Disclaimer – Zoho is sponsor of one of my other gigs, and I help them out on a bit of stuff. Suffice it to say if their product sucked I wouldn’t use it or promote it!

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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