4

Mac Store on Windows?

Posted October 25th, 2010 in Development, Marketing, Rants and tagged , , , , , by Steve Scheidecker
Apple Mac Store for Windows

Mac Store for Windows?

With the announcement that a Mac App Store would be coming to Apple computers in the coming months, I believe Apple could be up to something bigger.  While Apple computers are still selling very well the company is in a pickle.  Apple’s operating systems run on less than 5% of consumers PC’s and the only way they could increase this number would be by significantly dropping prices.  Dropping hardware prices would be a big mistake and Apple realizes this, so what can they do?  The answer may seem unrealistic at first, but what if Apple launches a Mac Store for Windows?  By doing this they could immediately gain significant profits from the sale of applications on every Windows PC without reducing their premium hardware price point.

Apple’s brilliance does not come from their hardware, operating system, or software products.  Don’t get me wrong, Apple does all of these things exceptionally well — But Apple’s standout feature is their ability to create a common framework.  The Apple turn-around has come from their ability to distribute content.  Apple has proven that they can develop efficient distribution for anything digital whether the content be music, movies, or applications.  Early on in the music distribution process Apple realized that they would be missing a large part of the market if they restricted their distribution efforts only to their own hardware, and so iTunes for Windows was born.  Why wouldn’t Apple want to take a similar approach to applications?

Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of things that could go awry if Apple chooses to do this.  Apple would be subject to the immense variability of Windows PCs that do not have a known hardware subset.  All of the problems this hardware variability has caused for Microsoft engineers and fundamental security flaws of Windows would be new territory for Apple.  But, if Apple could build a reliable Windows framework to run applications it could be the biggest development in computing ever.  Think about the possibilities… You purchase a application on your Mac PC at home in the Mac App Store and it installs automatically.  You go into the office and download the same application on your Windows PC through the Mac App Store.  The same application in both places, with seamless download through a unified framework.

But wouldn’t this destroy the Mac hardware business?  No, it would do just the opposite.  If Apple could demonstrate first-hand to Windows users the promise of simplicity and ease-of-us that is the foundation of Mac operating systems I think it would go along way in convincing people to spend more on a Mac.  And even if a Mac App Store on Windows did not convince people to buy Apple hardware they would be making 30% on every application sold.  How much does Apple make on Windows application sales now?  Not a penny!  Apple has millions of happy iPhone, iPod, and iPad customers that are avid Windows users.  Many people in this group would not think of buying a Mac, so what can Apple do?  Creating a way to capitalize on the current behavior of these users seems like the only immediate way.  Maybe someday they can convert the users to buying a Mac, but in the mean-time profiting from their Windows activities seems to make sense.

What do you think?  Will the Mac Store ever make a Windows appearance?

4 Responses so far.

  1. Sam Katz says:

    It’s definitely plausibly sort of possible. iTunes already runs on Windows, so does Safari, and Apple software update updates those applications.

    I have been wanting them to do iWork for Windows for awhile for compatibility reasons. (Yes, Pages supports near flawless Word export, and so do the other apps, but it “reduces friction”)

    They have a similar framework for installing iphone/ipad apps, and as I said, for doing these updates.

    So actually they could do this. It would be slightly different code, and there is no concept of an “app bundle” (.app) on Windows like there is on OS X. OS X actually has a “packager”. Windows has the Windows Installer which has gotten better but is prone to error.

    My guess is the Mac App Store will primarily install bundles, and maybe install Apple Installer apps, but I doubt it. It may have a conversion process from the log files generated by Apple’s installer to the new App store system, but again: why?

    –Sam

  2. Joe says:

    “Apple’s operating systems run on less than 5% of consumers PC’s”

    Where do you get this information from? Including iPad Apple has a 21% US marketshare, excluding iPad they have an 11% marketshare and excluding iPad they have a 9% World marketshare..

    • Steve Scheidecker says:

      Global sales for Macs was 3.89 million for the quarter (see Apple press release here). Global PC sales were 88 million. That’s 4.4% of the worldwide market share for NEW PCs.

      Keep in mind this figure (and even the 10.4% you cited for the US market) is for new PC sales only. This does not represent the true share of desktops using the Mac operating system since this is the highest share of new PC sales Apple has had for quite some time. You have to keep in mind all of the old computers out there still being actively used. To be honest the exact numbers don’t matter, my point is that Apple is going to be limited in the amount of market share they can overtake because of the price premium on their products. Even with the benefits of using a Mac (I am an avid Apple user myself) the majority of the population still looks at price as their number one buying criteria. Apple would never want to compete with the cheap $200 netbooks of the world, so how could they still make money off that part large part of the population that is price-sensitive?

Leave a Reply