App Store- Blessing or Curse?

On July 8, 2008

The iPhone’s hardware and software are only one part of the revolution in handheld computing that is currently underway. A key element of the radical change we are about to see is the distribution model represented by the App Store. Never before has there been such a centralized method for developers to release their software and customers to gain access to it.

The question that looms large in the face of this change is this–

Is this model good for developers?

Is it good for consumers?…

In a post on the Ilium Software Blog entitled “The Revolutionary iPhone App Store” offers one developer’s answer. According to Ilium’s Ellen Craw

There will be a huge advantage to having the App Store on the device, supported by the maker of the device and the OS.
Microsoft and Palm have been missing this for years. They’ve relied completely on third-party stores. There’s been no major advertising of the availability of software for Palm or Windows Mobile phones. There’s been very little promotional activity, and not much effort to raise users’ awareness of the fact that they can buy software.

Compare that to the fact that every new or upgraded iPhone will come with direct access to the App Store pre-loaded and you get a sense of how things are about to change.

Yup, even before the App Store opens Apple has already changed the rules of the game. 

That doesn’t mean that there aren’t significant issues that exist with the App Store model as it is currently conceived, though. Among the biggest for some is the fact that Apple will maintain a "monopoly on third-party distribution" determining not only what gets into the App Store but many aspects of the actual distribution, as well. 

Even with any real or perceived shortcomings, though, Ellen is

optimistic that Apple’s monopoly on third-party distribution will be better for developers than the current mobile software distribution oligopoly… Apple’s marketing, combined with the fact that they’re behind the software store, the OS and the hardware, is going to be very powerful.

We are too.