An App Store For OS X is a Mistake

by James R. Stoup Feb 05, 2009

Though it pains me to say this, it appears I was wrong in my initial judgement. And while this surprising news of my fallibility surely comes as no surprise to my wife, it might shock a few of you. Yes, I was wrong. When I first saw the App Store I was enthralled. And even after its flaws began to become apparent, I still defend ited in my heart. Why, I even hoped that such a glorious piece of marketing would come to my home computer so that every Mac could share in the unbridled joy that iPhone users take for granted every day. However, upon further consideration I've begun to rethink my stance on this issue.

This isn't to say that I'm not in favor of an unrestricted framework that developers could use to sell their products, I am. However, I no longer believe that Apple should be the gate keeper of such a system. If for no other reason than their handling of the App Store approval process has shown many of the flaws inherent in the way they conduct their business. And so for all its charms, I wouldn't want that nightmare to descend on my desktop. Thank you very much but I will just go about buying software the way I have for the past few years. Its been working out quite nicely so far and I see no reason to change.

Thankfully, I don't see Apple porting the App Store over to OS X anytime soon. This isn't to say they couldn't develop the software pretty quickly if they wanted to, but rather the hurdles they would face in doing so would probably not be worth the effort. Allow me to explain.

With the iPhone, Apple had an opportunity to define all the rules from scratch. They had created something entirely new and so no one went into their system knowing exactly what to expect. And so for better or for worse they got to create a system by which every other system ever made will be judged. And so far, this has worked out pretty well for them.

Now try to imagine what it would be like if they tried to bring this to the desktop. In this environment, developers have been doing just fine without Apple's help. They create, market and sell their products all without Apple's interference. So in order to break into this market, Apple can't just create a new, restrictive environment and expect people to flock to them because better alternatives already exist. For instance, if your a developer who already has a spiffy webiste that is all set up to process payments and initiate downloads of your product, there isn't a burning need to involved Apple in the process. Not unless you are feeling an extreme need to give them some of your money for the privileage of doing what you are currently doing right now.

This isn't to say that there wouldn't be benefits to working with Apple, there would. However, these benefits would have to be weighed against the hassle of scrapping your current infastructure, cost of paying to be a part of the store and potential nightmare of Apple's review and approval process. In short, most developers would probably look the situation over and decide they don't need this kind of hassle.

Of course, many of the smaller ones would probably flock to this kind of setup. And no doubt there would be a plethora of iFart apps to choose from as a result. However, all of the best developers (one imagines) would be too interested in retaining control to let Apple handle things. I don't seem them trusting anyone that much.

Here's hoping at least.


  • You are incorrect.
    Apple could easily launch an Apps Spore for OSX and it would be additional to the already available options for buying software.  It would be an easy and centralised service that developers could chose to use or not.

    Parky had this to say on Feb 05, 2009 Posts: 51
  • Frankly, I’m surprised anyone is surprised that one company with draconian control over app selection is a bad idea.  Seems pretty obvious.  In fact, my criticism was to point out how one would feel about Apple doing this same thing with OS X apps.

    Not unless you are feeling an extreme need to give them some of your money for the privileage of doing what you are currently doing right now.

    There’d be any number of people here who would gladly do so if Apple set something like that up.

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