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Could Apple’s App Store be monopolistic?

I was sitting here thinking.  Today is release day for Apple’s App Store.  It is for the Mac what iTunes is for music and what the AppStore is for iOS devices.

I was sitting here wondering if iTunes was available in the App Store when it hit me.  The App Store is actually part of the operating system.

If you’ll notice, the App Store is now embedded in the Apple menu.  Before, this menu entry said “Macintosh Software” or something like that.  When you clicked on it, the OS would fire up your default browser and direct you to the software download area of the Apple.com website.

Today, when you click on “App Store…” it will fire up the App Store.  That’s no big surprise, but it occurs to me that Microsoft got SMOKED for embedding software into Windows.  They embedded Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player.  Lawsuits were brought and lawyers got rich.  People (in Europe) got to have their systems even more crapified by Microsoft being forced into including competing products into their OS.

I’m a fan of competition.  Forcing Microsoft to include competing products is akin to forcing BMW to include a Mercedes Benz engine.

But I digress…

The App Store smacks of being anti-competitive to me.  How long will it be before Best Buy or Amazon to complain that their sales are sagging because people get their software from the App Store instead of them?  I’ll grant that their sales of Mac software are minute, but the principle is the same.  What about the other “app stores” that are already out there?  I have been using “Mac Games Arcade” for quite a while.  However, I’ll probably quit using it when the proper App Store has the same content.  What’s going to keep Mac Games Arcade from claiming anti-competitive practices?

What would happen if Microsoft opened an App Store?  Retailers of software would go bananas!

I’m curious to see if the App Store will be popular enough to persist.  Considering how tightly Apple will control what’s available (no bundles, no trials, no demos) it might flounder.  Knowing Apple though, I bet it’ll be successful.

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