Sierra_Dad - 8:31 pm on May 4, 2010 (gmt 0)
I think the DOJ has a pretty good reason to look into this. Maybe not if they only have 20% of the smartphone market, but the App Store is also the gatekeeper of the IPod where they have 73% market share.
HP had maybe 60% of the inkjet market. Naturally, they didn't want you buying refill or aftermarket ink cartridges. Nonetheless, when they released a new inkjet pen system, they published a set of specs on the same day that told you exactly what you had to do to manufacture alternate cartridges. Apparently, legal thought it would be restraint of trade if they didn't publish that information.
I don't know whether to hope Apple opens up voluntarily or that they implode so I can just keep developing for Android etc.
Having one central app store isn't all bad for developers because it simplifies marketing. Windows Mobile never had one. Once my app garnered the top spot in its category after hovering at 2 or 3. My sales that week were - wait for it - 6. I sold more on my puny web site.
If Apple allowed alternative stores, 90% or more of the sales would still be coming through their App Store. Alternative stores would get a trickle of traffic compared to the app store. That's the case on Android now. But the apps that would thrive under those conditions would be ones highly desired by consumers that didn't make it through Apple's process. Maybe Apple would take note, and realize an app isn't as bad as the low paid reviewer thought and decide they might as well get their 30% cut.
Microsoft is going down the same route with Windows Phone 7, where everything will have to go through their store. Supposedly they will only check for malicious software, etc. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.