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Amadeus Consulting Discusses Application Marketing on Apple’s Mac App Store

Apple® launched its long-awaited Mac® App Store™ today along with over 1000 applications which is available on any Mac running OS X Snow Leopard. This will be included on the OS X v10.6.6 software update which is available for download.

For Apple users, this will be very familiar to the iPhone® (iOS) App Store which is used to sell and distribute custom applications for the iPhone™, iPod® and iPad®.

For software application developers, this presents a very easy way to distribute desktop applications to millions of users with little initial overhead or marketing. Much like the iOS App store, Apple charges an annual developer registration fee ($ 99) and a 30% premium on all applications sold through the store. This premium covers all hosting, credit card fees and other charges. Publishers also have full control over the purchase price.

One of the biggest challenges outside of custom software development is distribution, which is how publishers actually get products to users. There are a few digital distribution options for desktops, though these are mostly oriented around computer games or individual company offerings, so having a major OS based system (sponsored by Apple and loaded on all computers) gives Mac application developers a head start over other options.

This could also be a useful tool for web app developers who do not have or sell traditional software. For example, for a long time Facebook refused to develop an iPad™ application because iPad users could just as easily access Facebook through its webpage for free. This left the door open for independent developers to create and sell an iPad application that provided that same access at a cost. Of the most popular, Friendly, sold over 1.5 million apps at $ 0.99 each which provided the same access to Facebook, but in an “app” format. Eventually Facebook responded by releasing an official iPad application, but not before Friendly already pulled in over a million dollars.

Now that the app store is coming to Mac, it will be interesting to see if similar things occur. Will people start selling desktop apps for Facebook, NYTimes, Mashable, Yahoo! News or other already free sites? Or, will those sites start selling an application version of their own sites?

One benefit to doing so is that they could have much more freedom in design by not constricting it to a web-page format, and they would be able to extract more user information for better ad targeting and more precise analytics. It would also keep out imposters who would use Facebook’s (or another site’s) content for their own profit or to embed their own advertisements.

Another benefit is the apps can charge more. Since the Mac App Store will include more full-fledged software applications, it will tend to price higher. Already, the average top 25 paid Mac apps currently cost $ 12.59, which is roughly 2.5 times higher than the average top-25 paid iPad apps and more than 10 times higher than the average top 25 iPhone apps.

For example, the popular game Angry Birds currently costs $ 5 on the Mac App Store, compared to its $ .99 cost on the iPhone. However, even the description warns that it is currently “50% off” and that it could eventually cost $ 10. Similarly, many iPad apps are selling on the Mac App Store at roughly double the cost.

In other words, demand is currently high and options are limited, so many companies are cashing in on this new distribution channel. For those with current iPhone and iPad apps, this could be a good reason to put in one last revision to make them available on the Mac App Store. For information on converting your app for the Mac App Store, or to create an app for the Mac App Store, contact your mobile application developer.

About Todd McMurtrey

The marketing team at Amadeus Consulting considers it part of their daily tasks to stay on top of what is going on in the technology marketplace. It is important to our company culture to be technology thought leaders, but we also want to share our knowledge and insights with readers excited about the latest and greatest tech news in the Tech Market Watch blog.

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