October 22, 2010

click. click. buy.

Quick Friday afternoon thoughts on the Mac App Store.
  1. I'll buy apps through it.  And I'll bet that I'll be able to discover software through it that I otherwise wouldn't have known about, and pay for apps that I otherwise wouldn't have paid for...mostly because the checkout process will be tied to my Apple account.
  2. In addition to inspiring a lot of hand-wringing posts about user control and the personal computer, I'm hoping it will also inspire some innovation in software pricing and distribution models.  The app store works if you're selling downloadable apps; the Google Chrome Web Store that's coming will be a good test as to whether that works for free / ad-supported apps, or subscription-based apps.
  3. If you look at the app store trend from a 30,000 foot view, there's clearly a hole in the market around software discovery, installation and management that's starting to be filled by these app stores. Is this a failure of the web? Of the googlebot?
  4. If over time the PC experience becomes more like CE, where the experience is tightly controlled, are developers more or less likely to shift work away from client software to browser-delivered services?  Local or cloud?  Objective C or Python + JavaScript + HTML5?
  5. The pain point around safe and reliable software discovery, installation and management is much higher if you're in the Microsoft ecosystem than if you're a Mac user. How long until the Windows app store arrives?
  6. Posit for a minute that there are three major modes of information / app discovery:  curation (I'll tell you what's good and put it on a list), search (you know what you're looking for and I'll help you find it) and social (discover what your friends are using). Curation requires taste, and that's where Apple's brand strength lies.  Search requires breadth, and breadth means that you need to let in more than you could ever really understand.  And social requires, well, an integrated graph.
  7. Microsoft's investment in Facebook is looking smarter every day. 

Fun times ahead.