Editorial: Has The App Store Killed The Software Market?

Call them what you like, Marketplaces, App Stores, App Worlds, it doesn’t matter, the world is changing and it might even be for the better. It wasn’t too long ago that you needed to drive to your local office supply store or even a local computer store to purchase that new piece of software that you needed to get that job done. Now, we simply click a button on our smartphones and the software is in our hands in just a few seconds. Forget the computer, forget the stores, forget the discs… It’s just a click away now.

What these App stores present to programmers is something that has never been seen before – a captive audience. Yes, sitting at that new Windows 8 computer, or that iPad 4, or even that BlackBerry, is a user that is looking for a new way to use that device. Whether it’s a game, productivity program or a new way to read a book, people want these expensive devices to do more. With the right selection of Apps, the devices will do more, and do it faster.

The desire to do more also comes with a price tag, albeit a cheaper one than in the past. That said, take a company like Adobe, that makes the photo editing software, Photoshop. Photoshop used to cost about $500 per license and about 2 people I knew purchased it. Low and behold, with the smartphone revolution, Adobe made Photoshop Touch for Android Tablets and just about everyone I know that has one, purchased it. Now that means that Adobe probably made more money selling 100 copies of Photoshop Touch for $10 each than it did on those 2 copies of Photoshop for the PC. It also means that there were zero, and I do mean zero distribution costs as the Google Play Store handles the hard work for them.

With thinner PC’s, faster phones and even laptops that come without CD-ROM drives, boxed software will be going the way of the do-do bird. If not today, then next week for sure. The smartphone, and mainly the iPhone didn’t just change the phone industry, but the entire distribution network of software for the planet. Think about that the next time you pick up that new Angry Birds or Mahjong game.

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