What Apple Can Learn From MacHeist

macheistlogo3Show of hands: How many of us would love to have access to quick and dirty downloads of super-cool Mac apps along the lines of what the current App Store offers iPhone and iPod touch users? Oh, heck yes.

Fast Company’s Kit Eaton asks a great question today about the recent MacHeist bundle. He wants to know if MacHeist‘s success will eventually goad Apple into opening an App Store for Mac. He wonders how Apple would implement such a thing if they ever decided to try. “Could MacHeist’s success prompt Apple to expanding the App store to supply Mac software?” he writes. “Or would Apple simply buy up MacHeist, since it does have a history of purchasing innovative start-ups and incorporating them into its business, with CoverFlow being an obvious example.”

If MacHeist has proven anything with its repeated success at selling giant bundles of software, it’s that Mac users want new apps. It’s unlikely that everyone who purchases a MacHeist bundle will use every single app it comes with, yet people flock to buy them anyway. While part of MacHeist’s success may be related to its charitable donations, and part may be due to an insanely low price for a bunch of terrific software, the fact is many Mac users just really want to try new stuff.

Apple has already proven the App Store is a profitable business model, and MacHeist proves there’s a market for third-party Mac apps so it’s not hard to do the math. I do have two qualms, however. Many iPhone App developers complain the approval process is so painfully long that’s hardly worth the effort sometimes. While delayed approval for iPhone apps is a nuisance, a long approval process for Mac software could be fatal. Many Mac apps are developed in response to newly-emerging customer needs and must make it to market quickly in order to be a success. A Mac App store won’t fly if equal or better software is available elsewhere when customers need it.

I’m also concerned that a Mac App Store would become a dumping ground for the same type of freeware cruft that clutters up the current App Store. I can’t imagine anyone taking the time to wade through a bunch of detritus in the hopes of finding one diamond in the rough.

Of course, these might be the very reasons we haven’t seen this kind of store yet. I suspect the vetting process for such a massive undertaking would require a whole new legion of staff and policies. If Apple ever announces they do plan to open a Mac App Store, however, I want to be first in line.


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