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Fri Aug 20, 2004 - 12:47 PM EDT - By Michael Ducker

"ESD-UNION was created as a mechanism to make the public aware of the facts that exist behind Electronic-Sales-Distribution (ESD) sites; and how it can affect the people, that you, the consumer rely on for your software within your handheld device. It also exists as a common voice for developers who share the same concerns. The largest concern is the rising of ESD margins over the last few years without sufficient justification to substantiate them.

An ESD is a portal that provides software or services in electronic form over the Internet, directed at specific groups or users. Traditionally, an ESD is a place where a developer can market and provide their software for distribution and sale over the Internet; to members of the portal website. The two best known ESD's are PalmGear and Handango."

There is a lot more info about the ESD-UNION effort of at the ESD-UNION website: http://www.esd-union.com/. Several prominent Treo developers have pledged their support for the union, which is currently developing a new ESD website that support the ESD-UNION values.

PalmGear has not responded to our requests for comment, but Handango gave us this statement from Clint Patterson, Handango's VP of Marketing.

We love the idea of a developer union. It would make our lives much easier! An organized group could affect positive changes for the entire mobile downloads ecosystem. In the past, trying to implement standards (say, a common installation experience) has been immensely difficult. We look forward to working with this group to champion such causes and bring about positive changes for our mutual customers.

The ESD Union site asks for a return to rates at 25%. It was at this rate that PalmGear, now PowerByHand, was forced to default on payments to thousands of developers. Today, PowerByHand is still in the process of paying off many of those developers. The experience of those developers who lost thousands of dollars is testimony that 25% is not the optimal rate for ESD sites.

Over the past five years, Handango has grown at a compounded annual rate of 183% per year. Funding this kind of growth, while maintaining a stable business, requires investment in infrastructure, people, partnerships, developers and the community. Because of our strong growth, many developers have also grown and become stronger, healthier businesses. As testimony to that fact, the ESD Union site says it best: "after discussion with a number of software developers; it isn't an option to remove their software if there is a price hike - as, they depend on the service you provide to make a living on their software."

We at Handango have achieved this position because of careful investment in the market, and it is our hope that continued investment will lift everyone in the community to new heights.

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