Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Replacing Apple Downloads with the Mac App Store

Apple is correct to recognize that the Mac App Store offers a way to create more value. But their letter to developers asserts:

"Because we believe the Mac App Store will be the best destination for users to discover, purchase, and download your apps, we will no longer offer apps on the Mac OS X Downloads site."

This statement is subjective and depends on who "your apps" is referring to and what the user is looking for. The Mac App Store is open to self contained productivity and entertainment apps that may access the Internet. Based on Apple's published guidelines, the Mac App Store IS NOT open to system utilities, disk utilities, network utilities, software that attempts to enhance the user interface of existing system facilities, or most plug-ins including browser, Email, and Address Book plug-ins.

Why? Placing code or resources in any shared area or requesting privilege escalation is prohibited.

In order for Apple's assertion above to be broadly true, Apple would need to offer a "Mac Utility Store" or other venue for applications that cannot meet the Mac App Store restrictions. This would include many award winning tools like Disk Warrior, Super Duper!, Default Folder X, 1Password, and other system maintenance utilities and plug-ins. Ironically, many Macworld Editor's Choice Award winning products are not eligible to appear in the Mac App Store. To say the Mac App Store is the "best destination for users to discover, purchase, and download your apps" is understandable marketing speak, but it's not the whole story.

I understand the hype machine can only focus on one thing at a time, but I hope Apple will consider expanding the scope of their Mac App Store(s) to truly become the "best destination" to discover great software.

Respectfully Submitted,

- Peter Sichel
Sustainable Softworks

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