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How The Mac App Store May Affect Developers

It’s been just about three weeks since the Mac app store was launched, Jan. 6 to be exact, to what was perceived by many as a lack of fanfare. Maybe it was due to the fact that many media and industry analysts were busy preparing for another frantic day at the International Consumers Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Whatever the reason, although the App Store opening was reported, the hype seemed a bit subdued.

After having a chance to download and implement a few applications from the Mac app store myself, I started wondering how this would ultimately affect developers.

There seems to be two camps in relation to this issue. One side claims the app store is great for developers, as it gives them a venue not only sell their applications, but possibly have them featured by Apple to their target market. The other side of the equation insists that the thirty percent commission taken off the top of app sales will cripple developers and thwart future research & development.

I tend to agree with the analysts predicting the app store will propel developers forward, for a few reasons, not the least being the precedent the iTunes app store has set. With the iTunes app store just recently exceeding en billion downloads, that’s billion with a “B”, I can’t see the developers worrying about profit margin; volume alone will offset the 30 percent commission exponentially. The other point to be made here is that no one is saying developers have to make a choice between the app store and selling their applications directly from their own website. They get the best of both distribution worlds, but the benefit of the app store is infinite. Potential customers will now know where to go to find these great applications, whereas in the past they needed to search the far reaches of the web.

Compare this to selling oranges. It’s easier to sell oranges to customers if your oranges are sold in a grocery store rather than setting up a small fruit stand on a street corner, as is prevalent here in California. When people want oranges they know they can go to the supermarket and pick them up rather easily. On the other hand it’s a pain to drive around town trying to find quality fruit being sold on the street corner. Keep in mind no one is saying farmers can’t sell their oranges in both the supermarket as well as on street corners, but it’s another avenue of distribution.

I personally like the fact that I can get all my needed software in one location like the Mac App Store. The fact that a developer goes through the process of landing their application in the store by jumping through all the hoops that Apple sets, lends to their credibility. It’s also nice to have some sort of feedback from other users in the form of ratings, albeit they may be potential shills for said developer or competitors badmouthing each other.

In the end I think you will see developers become more profitable and continually release higher quality applications as a result of the Mac app store, and that’s a good thing for the industry as a whole.

What are your thoughts and opinions on the future development of applications? Will the quality of software increase, or will small aspiring developers be squeezed out of the market? I want to hear what you have to say in the comments below.


Tom Moccia

Tom Moccia is a native of Stamford, Connecticut and moved his family west in 2000 and now calls Stockton, California home with his wife and two...

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