The Mac App Store (s aapl) isn’t quite a year old, and it just passed the 100 million download mark, according to Apple. Originally launched Jan. 6, 2011, the Mac App Store is now the “largest and fastest-growing PC software store in the world,” Apple says.
In its official press release announcing the news on Monday, Apple used quotes from developer partners to highlight its platform advantage. Autodesk (s adsk) SVP Amar Hanspal said his company is “using the Mac App Store to deliver new products and reach a growing base of new Mac customers,” and Pixelmator’s Saulius Dailide said that offering their version 2.0 software “exclusively on the Mac App Store allows us to streamline updates to our image editing software and stay ahead of the competition.”
Apple also took time to talk about the success of the iOS App Store, which it says has over 500,000 apps presently, and which has seen more than 18 billion app downloads in total, at a rate of more than 1 billion apps per month. The iOS App Store caught on much faster than the Mac App Store, however, at least in terms of downloads: Only nine months after its launch, it had already reached 1 billion downloads.
The Mac App Store also doesn’t offer nearly as large a library; according to the latest count by AppShopper.com, there are 8,459 apps available on Apple’s OS X software store. But there are some caveats that go a long way toward explaining why the Mac App Store’s growth rate is slow compared to its mobile cousin. First, the Mac App Store is available only on Macs running OS X Snow Leopard or later, so it isn’t on every active Mac computer out there. Second, the Mac App Store isn’t the exclusive software distribution channel for Mac apps, the way the iOS store is for Apple mobile devices (unless you jailbreak).
For a PC software market, the Mac App Store is still a huge success, and will likely continue to grow as it ships on future Macs and increasingly becomes a go-to resource for customers looking to get new apps on their machines. Apple’s ability to attract top-tier developers away from direct web distribution models will also be a key factor in helping it expand its library.