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Mark Lerner
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Mark Lerner
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November 21, 2012

A Tale of Two App Stores

“No interest” – It’s not exactly the kind of response you would want to get from someone like Steve Jobs, but this is exactly the answer we received.

Everybody knows that Apple created a “game changer” with its app store and iPhone. While there are more than one “app store” for various smart phones, the Apple app store is one that many developers find desirable, particularly those that are charging money for their apps.

However, Apple doesn’t make it easy.

This issue was brought up again recently in an article by David Streitfeld of The New York Times. 

Back in 2010 Gil Friedlander, Co-Founder and CEO of tawkon, sent a personal message to then CEO of Apple Steve Jobs. In his email, Gil stated that Mr. Jobs was a great inspiration to him and made tawkon’s case to be allowed on the app store. There were always rumors of Steve Jobs obsessively answering all his email messages, and this time one was no different. In his curt response Steve merely stated “No interest.”

 

While we are not bitter, this incident is indicative of a greater question in the world of mobile apps. Is it better to have a closed system, where all apps need to go past Apple censors, or to have an open market like Google Play where all apps are welcome?

The numbers are difficult to read. On one hand, Android phones currently control more than 50% of the smart phone market, yet the amount of developers for the iOS platform is much, much higher. The simple answer is that most developers know that Apple users are closely linked to their Apple platforms, and already have their credit cards on file. The thinking goes that these users are more likely to spend money. This outcome could be seen as giving weight to the closed strategy that is employed by Apple, but the winds of change are approaching.

Since their inception, Android phones have slowly eaten away at Apple's market share and continue to do so. And other players are jumping in as well. With the coming out of the Windows Phone and a new Blackberry the app store market is becoming more saturated. Time will tell if the new competition will have an outcome on which of these strategies is more effective.

Join the discussion on our Facebook page and give us your thoughts on this question.

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