Intro: Last week, Apple officially announced the Mac App Store as a major new addition to the Mac software ecosystem. Although the Mac App Store will be an integral part of Mac OS X Lion, it will make its debut this winter. Developers will be able to start submitting their applications for review in November.
- When we spoke to him (Daniel Jalkut) last week after Apple’s announcement, Jalkut said one of his concerns about the Mac App Store was whether he was going to lose his connections with customers. “Starting with the Mac App Store we don’t know if the same shift will take place, where the customers are Apple’s, and we’re just manufacturers for Apple,” he said
- “After Apple’s success with the iOS App Store, many customers will think this is the only way to get software,” he said. “And by streamlining the install process, many customers who do know about other channels will find them distasteful in comparison.”
- an important difference between the Mac App Store and the iOS App Store is that “the Mac App Store is opt-in, but that means it’s also opt-out
- in order to be included in the store, developers will have to follow a set of rules that they didn’t have to follow before
- If the Mac App Store is to follow the iOS App Store in its policies, it won’t be possible to do traditional “upgrade” pricing. Instead, developers have to look at either releasing in-purchase content kits (which don’t really work for a totally new app version) or charging all users the same price for a new version of the app.
- Instapaper’s Marco Arment recently blogged that “The Mac App Store isn’t for today’s Mac developers.” Future Mac OS X developers are going to be more likely to gravitate toward the platform because of the Mac App Store. The number of iOS developers dwarfs the number of traditional Mac developers. While standard Cocoa has a lot more intricacies and can dive much deeper into hardware and file systems than what is allowed by Cocoa Touch, if you know Objective-C, you know Objective-C. The Mac App Store is going to bring a lot of new developers to the platform — and yes, we expect it will mean that smaller and more bite-sized programs will be created.
My Take: This is a very risky move from Apple who, even if they have gathered many developers on iOS, still doesn’t have a huge market share against Windows developers. And more important, didn’t give a sustainable business model to their iOS developers. iAd is not yet a success, free (or cheap) is the only way to differentiate apps on the App Store and the only mass money generator is 3rd party Ad networks (that Steve Jobs wanted to cut not so long ago).
The good point is that Apple seems to increasingly embrace transparency that becomes a market standard. They announce this platform in advance, don’t define strict rules at start and will probably define it (Boundary Object for those who follow;o) while building it, together with their complementors.
Apple is in fact initiating a new trend: multi-platform (but within an ecosystem) one-stop-shops, for both customers and developers. One log-in, one account, one rights-management platform for all the (Apple) devices! This will increase their platform utility and might be the right weapon to increase market shares towards Microsoft and Google.