Stephen O’Grady argues that app stores (of which the iPhone App Store is an example) are going to continue to be a big deal. I’m inclined to agree, and I love his example of the WordPress plugin directory.
I’m also going to quote from one of his sources, Farhad Manjoo’s negative article on app stores to make a slightly different point:
That’s a miscalculation, because the App Store’s true rival isn’t a competing app marketplace. Rather, it’s the open, developer-friendly Web. When Apple rejected Google Latitude, the search company’s nearby-friend-mapping program, developers created a nearly identical version that works perfectly on the iPhone’s Web browser. Google looks to be doing something similar with Voice, another app that Apple barred from its store. Last fall, Joe Hewitt, the Facebook developer who created the social network’s iPhone app, quit developing for Apple in protest of the company’s policies. Where did he go? Back to writing mobile apps for Web browsers.
The question I’d ask is, how is this a loss for Apple? Web browsers are becoming increasingly powerful platforms for applications. It would be a problem for Apple if these companies were going off and building Android apps, but if they’re writing apps that still run well on an iPhone, then Apple is still a beneficiary of their work.