The FT’s Joseph Menn makes an interesting argument: That the App Store will prove to be Apple’s most important invention ever.
I think the App Store has the chance to make the iPhone the dominant mobile development platform, which could create awesome Microsoft-like value over the next decade. So in terms of the potential, I agree.
That said, Google is now attacking the iPhone platform with the same strategy that Microsoft once used to attack Apple Macs–spraying software across multiple hardware vendors. And this may leave Apple vulnerable to the same flaw that nearly killed it the first time around. To build a monopoly position in smartphones, Apple will have to win in EVERYTHING, hardware and software, while Google just has to win in software.
So the game may not be over yet.
Here’s Joseph Menn:
In 2007 Steve Jobs launched the iPhone with a fanfare of fiery rhetoric.
The iPhone, Apple’s chief executive claimed, was three “revolutionary” devices in one. Combining a touch-controlled iPod media player, a phone and an “internet communicator”, the iPhone was “a leapfrog product that is way smarter than any mobile device has ever been”.
In contrast, when Mr Jobs introduced the App store a little less than 18 months ago, his vocabulary was considerably more muted.
The digital distribution channel, he said, was a “pretty cool” way for programmers to get their applications into the hands of millions of iPhone users.
Yet, more than 2bn downloads later, the app phenomenon that has fuelled and fed off the iPhone’s success not only appears more significant than that blockbuster product, it might prove to be the most important thing Apple has ever created.
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