Angry Birds CEO: We really have Apple to thank; we got away from this carrier-dominated Soviet model

“Of the thousands of games available for download from the App Store, none has had the sustained popularity of Rovio’s Angry Birds, a 99 cent physics-based puzzler in which you use a slingshot to launch birds of various shapes and sizes at fortresses containing green pigs,” Peter Cohen reports for The Loop. “Rovio CEO Peter Vesterbacka spoke to a large crowd at this week’s Game Developer Conference (GDC) to explain his company’s success.”

“‘We really have Apple to thank,’ said Vesterbacka – not just for helping to promote Angry Birds, but for creating the App Store to begin with,” Cohen reports. ‘We got away from this carrier-dominated Soviet model,’ he explained – before the App Store, the carriers were responsible for figuring out what software would run on their phones. ‘Other people decided on our behalf what was a good game and what was a bad game,’ Vesterbacka said.”

Cohen reports, “Cell phone companies didn’t want 25 poker games, said Vesterbacka, they just wanted one ‘good’ one. But the cell phone makers would decide what games were ‘good’ and what games were ‘bad.'”

Much more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]

Related article:
How to transfer Angry Birds scores between iOS devices – January 5, 2011


  1. Interesting….

    There may be no Soviet model on the software side, but Apple is a Soviet style hardware model.

    “By that measure, it wasn’t that different than what Finland’s old neighbors, the Soviet Union, used to believe, according to Vesterbacka – you didn’t need 25 kinds of toothpaste. One would do, and it didn’t need to be particularly good – people would use it anyway, since they had no choice.”

    Sounds like the iPhone….

    1. Where your argument fails is that the iPhone isn’t just good enough, it’s the best available. If Apple ever started offering a phone that wasn’t the best on the market, then you’d have a point.

    2. And please don’t start spouting off hardware specs in an attempt to prove that the iPhone is not the best. Hardware is only a part of the equation, and it’s not even the most important part.

    3. Not quite; if we were to use the analogy, you can have Crest, Colgate, Aquafresh make twenty-five different kinds of tooth paste each. Sensodyne would make only two kinds, but they were both far better than any competitor’s.

      People have plenty of choice among phones; even among smartphones; even among smartphones with virtual keyboards and downloadable apps; even among smartphones with virtual keyboards, downloadable apps and built-in GPS… I could keep narrowing it down even further, and still wouldn’t hit just one.

      I simply don’t see the Soviet model here.

    4. Come on Eric, Apple doesn’t need to flood the market with 25 different models of iPhone. One good one, that is best in class, is all we need.

      On the software side, Apple produces one version of OS X, not 25 versions, each incrementally better than the last.

      Imagine a world where all manufacturers built and sold one model of the best version possible. No more options, sold separately, because it’s all in there! They’d have a lot more satisfied customers and our landfills would slow down.

  2. Where his argument fails is that the iPhone isn’t the only choice of cell phone. What it is is the only choice that offers 300,000+ apps, and so much more. If you are going to compare the iPhone to Soviet era toothpaste, then you must open your eyes a bit more – there are hundreds of different phones available. Even if you want to see AT&T as the Soviet Union (which is hard to do now that Verizon has the iPhone), AT&T offers many different phones with many different features. The iPhone just happens to offer a huge number of features.

    Sorry “Eric the Red” but your argument does not hold water.

  3. Eric the idiot-

    The iPhone is not the only choice for cell phones in USA. The last time I checked, there were hundreds of cell phone choices.

    Nobody is holding gun to your head and forcing you to buy an iPhone.
    Don’t like it, don’t buy it. Go pick up a really cool Palm Treo. As a matter of fact, I have a whole drawer full of Treos at a company I support. Such state of the art smart phones they were. (sarcasm)

  4. Think before you speak-

    Instead of personally attacking a fellow commenter, why not lay out salient points that substantiate your position. Name calling only reduces the discussion to a barbaric tone that is neither productive or warranted.

    Good day to you!

    1. Yes name calling is not nice, but when people put analogies in their posts that are so way off base, it is hard to not call them “idiots”.

      Apple = Soviet Union??

      No way.

      So here are the salient points:
      Apple, a computer company decided that the current cell phones that were available suck. So they created what they thought was a better phone.
      They thought that having one or two models makes it easier to support and easier for the consumer to pick from.

      (Four years ago cell phone company XYZ makes 20 different phones. A year later, how many of those phones exist and how many new ones are there? They don’t support them, they are throw away phones.)

      Apple keeps it simple.

      So in 2007 Apple releases the first iPhone on ATT.
      You can also get other phones that work with ATT.
      You can also go to Sprint, Verizon, Virgin, etc. to buy what ever phone you like from those companies.

      Apple had their two models to compete with hundreds of other established cell phones. They also cost an unbelievable $499 and $599.

      What happened? They sold at a ridiculous rate because they were the best phones out there.
      But you could go buy some other phone if you wanted too!!

      So Eric the Red, please show me how this is like the Soviet Union, because if the phone was mediocre, then people would not buy then?

      Last time I checked, iPhone sales were doing rather well.

      1. Adding to the script:
        3rd party developers now readily understand the value of supporting a superior product. Application sales go through the roof in a very short time in-step with superior hardware sales. Superior software eco-system evolves, rippling across hardware product lines, generating significant opportunity for profitability and innovation.

        By contrast, Microsoft back in the 90’s tried a different strategy by promoting inferior software via a number of inferior hardware manufacturers. Sizable market share evolved. For a while, this approach actually worked for the providers. However, of late a rapid erosion of this concept is underway. “Buying” public now understands the difference and value between providing superior products backed by superior software and service, versus a closed system fueled by market manipulation and inferior products.

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