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Apple opens Mac app store, discounts own software

None | Feb. 25, 2011

"I think the Mac App Store is fundamentally at odds with the Mac operating system," said Stephen Baker, an analyst with the NPD Group, which tracks retails sales of consumer goods and software.

"Apple may be herding all the cats together, like they did with the iPhone's App Store, but as long as the Mac remains an open platform, there will be plenty of other places to buy software, whether it's Best Buy (BBY) or downloaded directly from the developer."

Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Research, said that the disruptions would be minor, if only because they affect only those developers whose software is excluded from the new online store. "Absolutely, this is important for most Mac developers," he said.

More important was the strategic sense that the Mac App Store makes.

"It's part of the overall iOS-ization of Mac OS," said Gottheil. "Apple wants to carry over the simplicity of iOS to the Mac and make the computer less complex."

Apple's CEO has touted the next version of Mac OS X, dubbed "Lion," as "Mac OS meets the iPad" to explain the company's plan to bring some of the functionality of its iOS mobile operating system to the Mac. Lion, slated to ship this coming summer, will also support the Mac App Store.

Apple takes a 30% cut of all Mac App Store revenues to fund the market's maintenance, an amount that Gottheil sees as contributing little to Apple's bottom line.

"It may give a little tweak to its revenues, but remember, this is all about supporting their hardware, just like the iOS App Store," Gottheil said.

Mac OS X 10.6.6 be downloaded at the Apple site or installed using the operating system's integrated update service.

Apple's Mac App Store debuted today with the rollout of Mac OS X 10.6.6.


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