If you're a Mac OS X Snow Leopard user you will have found that the latest software upgrade has just added the new Mac App Store to your program dock. Following the success of iPhone and iPad apps Apple has decided to see if it can make money from Mac software.
As someone recently pointed out, most computer users don't buy software! They tend to stick with the applications that came with their computer, plus perhaps the core Office application and that's just about it. Maybe they will try some cheap/free/copies software but on the whole we're a pretty unadventurous lot unless we're real geeks.
But not so if you can download very cheap apps, as the iPhone and iPad have proved. So there's the big deal - the App Store is only going to work if apps are cheap. Apple thinks it's a no-brainer - no-one wants to buy traditional boxed software, so cannibalising prices won't cut into sales - in fact it should boost them, albeit at much lower margins. Third party software suppliers obviously take the same view, looking at what's already available at the App Store.
And looking at what's available it's going to be a win-win for everyone. I was contemplating buying the iLife photo, video and music suite over Christmas, but at £75 decided it would have to wait. I can now download the three elements of iLife 2011 for £8.99 each from the App Store! The iWork 2011 office suite is slightly dearer at £11.99 per application (OK, it's more than I paid for the free Open Office, but t's still great value). This is going to revolutionise the market for Mac software.
I'm a partner with Burton Sweet, chartered accountants & business advisers, and run the Shepton Mallet office down in beautiful Somerset. Despite the name, Shepton Mallet is actually the home of Glastonbury Festival! I trained in audit and corporate tax with Grant Thornton and came to my current position in 1991 via small local practices...