Will the Mac App Store Spell the End of Independent Software Development for Mac OS X?
The announcement that Apple is trying to create an operating system that makes it easier to add new programs and an online Mac App Store to sell software to the public undoubtedly has some developers worried.
There have already been blog posts and news stories that suggest Apple is trying to take total control of software creation for the Mac. This has been fueled by Apple’s recent decision to stop loading Adobe products on its new hardware. Independent developers may wonder if they have a place in the new future Steve Jobs is envisioning.
At this point it’s hard to say how the Mac App Store and the new Lion or Mac OS 10.7 operating system will have on independent designers. It should be noted; however, that it will still be possible to load non-Apple programs such as Adobe products onto Mac. Adobe has already announced that it will keep selling to the Mac market and has plans to offer automatic security updates for its products on Mac OS X systems.
Competing with Apple
This means that there still should be room for independent designers and programmers who want to tap the Mac market. It does mean; however, that they could increasingly be competing with Apple itself.
Jobs’ decision to launch the Mac App Store shows that Apple thinks software sales are a major revenue stream. Not surprisingly Steve Jobs and his ilk will fight to protect that revenue stream and try to push out smaller competitors.
Given Apple’s tremendous reputation with the media and aggressive marketing this could be difficult. It could also provide opportunities if Jobs creates some sort of mechanism for independent software creators to sell their designs through the App store.
This is Jobs’ current business model, he already sells music through the App store for iPod. It could be conceivable that independent designers could be able to tap the Apple market through the App store.
Whether Jobs will go this route or not is unknown. It should be noted; however, that there could be software applications; especially those for specialized business functions, that Apple doesn’t want to deal with. If that’s the case they may provide an avenue for independent designers and smaller software firms to sell their products through Mac App Store.