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Apple issues review guidelines for Mac App Store

post #1 of 176
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Heading off concerns that the Mac App Store might generate complaints about capricious rejections and unclear submission guidelines, Apple has issued an initial outline of what developers will need to do to get their apps listed in the new store.

"The App Store has revolutionized the way mobile apps are developed and distributed," Apple writes in the Mac App Store Review Guidelines document. "With over 300,000 apps and 7 billion downloads, it has been a huge hit with developers and users around the world. Now we are thrilled to be opening our new Mac App Store to the hundreds of thousands of Mac developers and tens of millions of Mac users around the world."

The guidelines further note, "to ensure that apps are reliable, perform as advertised, and free of offensive material, we will review every app on the Mac App Store based on a set of Mac App Store Review Guidelines that we are ready to share with you. These guidelines are designed to help you create and prepare your apps so they will sail through our approval process.

"We want to help you reach tens of millions of Mac customers with your apps. As with the mobile App Store, developers will earn 70% of the revenues. Please join us as we launch our Mac App Store within the next 90 days, and together we can surprise and delight our joint customers."

Functionality guidelines

Apple first lists a series of rules pertaining to how apps work, how they install themselves, how they update, and what technologies they use.

Apps that crash, exhibit bugs or do not perform as advertised by the developer will be rejected, as will be apps that are "beta", "demo", "trial", or "test" versions. Apps that use non-public APIs or include undocumented or hidden features inconsistent with the description of the app will be rejected.

"Apps that duplicate apps already in the App Store may be rejected, particularly if there are many of them. Apps that are not very useful or do not provide any lasting entertainment value may be rejected. Apps that are primarily marketing materials or advertisements will be rejected. Apps that are intended to provide trick or fake functionality that are not clearly marked as such will be rejected.

"Apps that encourage excessive consumption of alcohol or illegal substances, or encourage minors to consume alcohol or smoke cigarettes, will be rejected. Apps that provide incorrect diagnostic or other inaccurate device data will be rejected. Developers 'spamming' the App Store with many versions of similar apps will be removed from the Mac Developer Program.

"Apps must be packaged and submitted using Apple's packaging technologies included in Xcode - no third party installers allowed. Apps must be self-contained, single application installation bundles, and cannot install code or resources in shared locations. Apps that download or install additional code or resources to add functionality or change their primary purpose will be rejected.

"Apps that download other standalone apps will be rejected. Apps that install kexts (kernel extensions) will be rejected. Apps that require license keys or implement their own copy protection will be rejected. Apps that present a license screen at launch will be rejected. Apps may not use update mechanisms outside of the App Store.

"Apps must contain all language support in a single app bundle (single binary multiple language). Apps that spawn processes that continue to run after a user has quit the app without user consent will be rejected. Apps that use deprecated or optionally installed technologies (e.g., Java, [PowerPC code requiring] Rosetta) will be rejected.

"Apps that do not run on the currently shipping OS will be rejected. Apps that are set to auto-launch or to have other code automatically run at startup or login without user consent will be rejected. Apps that request escalation to root privileges or use setuid attributes will be rejected.

"Apps that add their icons to the Dock or leave short cuts on the user desktop will be rejected. Apps that do not use the appropriate Mac OS X APIs for modifying user data stored by other apps (e.g bookmarks, Address Book or Calendar entries) will be rejected. Apps that do not comply with the Mac OS X File System documentation will be rejected."

Metadata and advertising

Apple next outlines rules for apps related to how they identify and advertise themselves in the Mac App Store. Apps are forbidden from mentioning the name of other computer platforms, such as Microsoft Windows or Google Android.

Apps can't use placeholder text in the App Store listings, nor use irrelevant descriptions of their content and functionality. Also, app icons and screenshots must be appropriate and adhere to the 4+ rating to appear in the store, and be assigned correct Category, Genres, Keywords, and Ratings.

The company warns the any attempt to cheat in user reviews or app rankings with invented or paid reviews will result in a termination from the developer program.

Location Services

The guidelines also restrict how location data is used, forbidding apps from collecting, sending or using users' location data without notifying the user and obtaining consent. Apple also forbids the use of location data to control autonomous vehicles, or for use in dispatch, fleet management and emergency services.

Trademarks

Heading off the problems developers have complained about in Google's Android store, Apple insists that developers' apps must follow the guidelines for using Apple copyrights and trademarks, which forbids suggesting that third party apps are endorsed by Apple, creating confusion with Apple product names, misspelling Apple trademarks, or using any other third party trademarks without documented permission to do so.

User Interface

Apple insists that apps must follow the Apple Macintosh Human Interface Guidelines, including the user of buttons and icons, but says it will reject apps that that look similar to existing Apple products, including the Finder, iChat, iTunes, and Dashboard. It will also reject apps that change the native user interface elements or behaviors of Mac OS X.

The company says it sets a high bar for user interface quality, and "if your user interface is complex or less than very good it may be rejected."

Purchasing

Apple will reject apps that open up additional features or functionality outside of the App Store, except for apps that hosts plug-ins or extensions. Note that, in contrast, iOS apps are forbidden from using any sort of plug-ins or extensions at all. Apps also can't create a store inside themselves for selling or distributing other software.

Any apps that ask the user to pay to use to built-in features of Mac OS X (such as an iSight camera) will also be rejected. Apps are also forbidden from renting content or services that expire after a period of time. Insurance applications must be free and in legal-compliance in the regions distributed.

As with iOS apps, Apple notes that "the more expensive your app, the more thoroughly we will review it."

Scraping and aggregation

Apps that scrape information from Apple sites such as apple.com, the iTunes Store, App Store, iTunes Connect, and Apple Developer Programs or create rankings using content from Apple sites and services will be rejected, although apps can use approved Apple RSS feeds such as the iTunes Store RSS feed.

As with IOS apps, Apple warns that title that are simply web clippings, content aggregators, or a collection of links, may be rejected.

Damage to Products

Apps that encourage users to use an Apple product in a way that may cause damage to the device will be rejected. Apple also rejects apps that can rapidly drain the users' battery or generate excessive heat.

Personal attacks, violence and objectionable content

Apps that are defamatory, offensive, mean-spirited, or likely to place the targeted individual or group in harms way will be rejected, although Apple notes that professional political satirists and humorists are exempt from the ban on offensive or mean-spirited commentary.

Apps portraying realistic images of people or animals being killed or maimed, shot, stabbed, tortured or injured will be rejected. Apps that depict violence or abuse of children will be rejected. "Enemies" within the context of a game cannot solely target a specific race, culture, a real government or corporation, or any other real entity.

Apps involving realistic depictions of weapons in such a way as to encourage illegal or reckless use of such weapons will be rejected. Apps that include games of Russian roulette will be rejected. Apps that present excessively objectionable or crude content or that are primarily designed to upset or disgust users will be rejected.

Privacy

Apps cannot transmit data about a user without obtaining the user's prior permission and providing the user with access to information about how and where the data will be used. Apps that require users to share personal information, such as email address and date of birth, in order to function will be rejected. Apps that target minors for data collection will be rejected.

Pornography

Apps containing pornographic material, defined by Webster's Dictionary as "explicit descriptions or displays of sexual organs or activities intended to stimulate erotic rather than aesthetic or emotional feelings", will be rejected. Apps that contain user generated content that is frequently pornographic (ex "Chat Roulette" apps) will be rejected.

Religion, culture, and ethnicity

Apps containing references or commentary about a religious, cultural or ethnic group that are defamatory, offensive, mean-spirited or likely to expose the targeted group to harm or violence will be rejected.

Apps may contain or quote religious text provided the quotes or translations are accurate and not misleading. Commentary should be educational or informative rather than inflammatory.

Contests, sweepstakes, lotteries, raffles, charities and contributions

"Sweepstakes and contests must be sponsored by the developer/company of the app. Official rules for sweepstakes and contests must be presented in the app and make it clear that Apple is not a sponsor or involved in the activity in any manner. It must be permissible by law for the developer to run a lottery app, and a lottery app must have all of the following characteristics: consideration, chance, and a prize. Apps that allow a user to directly purchase a lottery or raffle ticket in the app will be rejected.

"Apps that include the ability to make donations to recognized charitable organizations must be free. The collection of donations must be done via a web site in a web browser."

Legal requirements

"Apps must comply with all legal requirements in any location where they are made available to users. It is the developer's obligation to understand and conform to all local laws.

"Apps that contain false, fraudulent or misleading representations will be rejected. Apps that solicit, promote, or encourage criminal or clearly reckless behavior will be rejected. Apps that enable illegal file sharing will be rejected. Apps that are designed for use as illegal gambling aids will be rejected. Apps that enable anonymous or prank phone calls or SMS/MMS messaging will be rejected.

"Developers who create apps that surreptitiously attempt to discover user passwords or other private user data will be removed from the Mac Developer Program.

"This document represents our best efforts to share how we review apps submitted to the Mac App Store," Apple says, "and we hope it is a helpful guide as you develop and submit your apps. It is a living document that will evolve as we are presented with new apps and situations, and we'll update it periodically to reflect these changes.

"Thank you for developing for Mac OS X. Even though this document is a formidable list of what not to do, please also keep in mind the much shorter list of what you must do. Above all else, join us in trying to surprise and delight users. Show them their world in innovative ways, and let them interact with it like never before. In our experience, users really respond to polish, both in functionality and user interface. Go the extra mile. Give them more than they expect. And take them places where they have never been before. We are ready to help."
post #2 of 176
At least the big developers don't have to use the store. Companies like Microsoft, Adobe, and Autodesk.
post #3 of 176
Thank you for protecting me and putting a big condom on my computer
post #4 of 176
I don't know about this App Store. I right now think the iPhone App Store is way to over bloated right now and is hard to find applications when surfing for a certain function. Then Apple will introduce an OS X App store that will exhibit the same bloat problem.

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post #5 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

At least the big developers don't have to use the store. Companies like Microsoft, Adobe, and Autodesk.

Nobody has to use the store. Jobs made it very clear that the App Store will be an option. Not the option.
post #6 of 176
What's the source for all this information? Is a link to Apple's website available?
post #7 of 176
Quote:
The company warns the any attempt to cheat in user reviews or app rankings with invented or paid reviews will result in a termination from the developer program.

I really hope the crack down on this. People have switched from the made up reviews to voting up negative reviews which is just a bad.
post #8 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by satcomer View Post

I don't know about this App Store. I right now think the iPhone App Store is way to over bloated right now and is hard to find applications when surfing for a certain function. Then Apple will introduce an OS X App store that will exhibit the same bloat problem.

Well, it's a bit like Googling for information these days ... you have to do it with intelligence. I am sure you would not advocate Google limiting the information simply because there is so much would you?
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post #9 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by diddy View Post

Nobody has to use the store. Jobs made it very clear that the App Store will be an option. Not the option.

Yeah I must have missed that part even though I had it streaming to my phone. Oh well, Jobs confirmed it to me anyways.
post #10 of 176
Were the guidelines written specifically to keep Microsoft out?
post #11 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by rbonner View Post

I really hope the crack down on this. People have switched from the made up reviews to voting up negative reviews which is just a bad.

I hope they tighten that too but often you can get a demo version and I hope that continues. Although anyone that buys anything based on reviews needs to realize idiots post on the web ... blogs and reviews, all the time.
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post #12 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by diddy View Post

Nobody has to use the store. Jobs made it very clear that the App Store will be an option. Not the option.

Well, he did say the best option. :-)
post #13 of 176
All those things "will" benefit the user. Thank you apple.
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post #14 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by sippincider View Post

Were the guidelines written specifically to keep Microsoft out?

And Adobe.
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post #15 of 176
Granted, "hidden functionality" probably covers this, but I'm surprised they didn't explicitly mention viruses or malware. Maybe I just missed it.
post #16 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by nine9nin View Post

Thank you for protecting me and putting a big condom on my computer

Sorry to tell you this and burst your cond ... I mean illusion but this is simply an alternative option and I guarantee it will be huge.
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post #17 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

At least the big developers don't have to use the store. Companies like Microsoft, Adobe, and Autodesk.

i bet they will though.
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post #18 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by rhyde View Post

Granted, "hidden functionality" probably covers this, but I'm surprised they didn't explicitly mention viruses or malware. Maybe I just missed it.

Yeah, because I can really see a dev trying to sue them for Apple not letting their App infect a persons computer and steal their identity or money.
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post #19 of 176
Today's announcement indicated that Apple envisioned an App Store for Mac titles (facilitating easy shopping, software updates, and simple installation). Unfortunately they've already demonstrated their unwillingness to offer ongoing support for their current resource for Mac users to keep up to date on the latest offerings for Apple Macs:

http://www.apple.com/downloads/macosx/

This site is frequently ignored for days or weeks at a time, whereas MacUpdate provides daily releases of information regarding new additions to the plethora of software developed or improved upon for Apple Macs.

Doesn't provide much confidence in the reliability of today's proposed AppStore.
post #20 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by sippincider View Post

Were the guidelines written specifically to keep Microsoft out?

Maybe they will help the MS Mac team write the sort of code they'd like to.
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post #21 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by mlaurencg4 View Post

...
This site is frequently ignored for days or weeks at a time, whereas MacUpdate provides daily releases of information regarding new additions to the plethora of software developed or improved upon for Apple Macs.

Doesn't provide much confidence in the reliability of today's proposed AppStore.

But you find that MacUpdate's 10 minute submission process gives you more "confidence" and "reliability"? If so, we have very different perspectives.
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post #22 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

... As with IOS apps, Apple warns that title that are simply web clippings, content aggregators, or a collection of links, may be rejected. ...

I think the author hasn't been to the app store lately if they think this is "like iOS." At least a third of the apps in the app store are exactly these kind of crappy web-link apps.
post #23 of 176
This sounds like the beginning of the end of Mac as general computing platform and entry into a non-portable Mac appliance. Couple this with "auto-save" (i.e. hide file system from the user) and a few more OS iterations and Apple will get there.

I think it's really time to move on to more open and free platforms and attempt to save the world from corporations with the goal to own the world, before owning a compiler becomes illegal.

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post #24 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

i bet they will though.

I'd like to see them actually, but I don't think they will because of this:

"... Apps that require license keys or implement their own copy protection will be rejected. "

That leaves out a lot of big Mac developers right there. I'm not sure how Omigraffle and Pixelmator (who have both said they were looking forward to the store AFAIK), are going to work around that.
post #25 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by rhyde View Post

Well, he did say the best option. :-)

Yes, I believe he qualified that remark was in his opinion.
post #26 of 176
Try before you buy. Must be there. Our app comes in three different flavors ranging from US$49 to $249. The size of our market, even with App store distribution, is such that we can't move much on these price points - we have spent over $4m developing the product, and need to recoup our investment (and make a profit), and with the App store potentially having hundreds of thousands of other software titles there competing for people's attention, and considering the niche nature of our software, dropping the price significantly really doesn't work.

The way it works for us now is that people download our software, fall in love with it and buy it. It is so extensive and immersive that a few screenshots will not sell a product like this at the price point we need to charge.

I think the "race to the bottom" approach that has happened on iPhone and iPad sets a dangerous precedent for desktop apps. It gives a huge incentive to develop small utility type apps instead of more fully featured applications. The platform is different, and anything that pushes us away from those high investment fully featured applications is doing both the users and developers a huge disservice.

The other thing is that we have a cross platform licensing model where if you purchase a license key, you can use it on both Mac and that other operating system so if we had to lower prices it would cannibalize our Windows revenues.

Actually the store rules seem to imply that you can't use any form of license keys anyway, so I just don't know how it would work for our cross platform licensing model.

In many ways, I wish they had put a longer timeframe on this and had some place set up where we could ask questions about these sorts of things (I've looked on the developer forums etc but haven't found anywhere so far).
post #27 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

I'd like to see them actually, but I don't think they will because of this:

"... Apps that require license keys or implement their own copy protection will be rejected. "

That leaves out a lot of big Mac developers right there. I'm not sure how Omigraffle and Pixelmator (who have both said they were looking forward to the store AFAIK), are going to work around that.

Actually, my greatest interest in the limitations document was this statement. Thank God. I'm so tired of typing in 32 characters of gobbledygook to activate a piece of software I paid for.

This, along with $0.99 apps, might convince me to buy Mac software again.

OTOH, I really see the death of traditional software distribution on the Mac and I consider this to be a BAD THING. No, I'm not wearing a tin-foil hat and worrying that Apple will close off other methods of Mac distribution; I simply agree with other people who've pointed out that this will quickly become the *default* mechanism for Mac software distribution and people won't even bother looking at software from other sources (other than for the standard "big packages"). I seriously believe that this will have a big impact on software innovation on the Mac. The Mac App Store will quickly fill up with crapware (like the iOS App Store) and other sources of Mac software will find that it's becoming too expensive to support the traditional sales/marketing models.

I could be wrong. I hope I'm wrong. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. I can certainly understand some developer's concerns, however, about the race to the bottom.

Just don't give me any Mac Fart apps :-)
post #28 of 176
This could be very cool. Right now it seems Mac developers (heck, computer developers) have to jack their prices up quite high in order to turn the type of profit they want due to piracy and distribution issues. If they're able to distribute and advertise far more extensively through the app store (and if it helps them defend against privacynot holding my breath on that) it will drives prices down for everyone and profit up for them. Lower prices will also help to further reduce piracy. There are many great Mac apps out there, but they're just not worth $20, $40, or more...

So we can get many of the benefits of the App Store without some of its worst aspects (the walled garden). Everyone can still release their apps through all the old-school traditional means. I'll be watching this one hopefully.

Oh, and death to license keys and shady upgrade cycles.
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post #29 of 176
As of current its not much different than buying an app from Steam or Aspyr's service.

Brick and Mortar software for apple is not going to change that much. We'll still have a small collection of pro and consumer apps people need from the Apple Store itself (Office, Creative Suite). And Mac & PC releases of some software (Starcraft II).

What this does is collect what many people generally have to go to tuaw, macupdate,macheist and various blogs, google sites, etc to find which are mostly online distributed anyhow.

But I wonder if they'll reject what has been a standard which is using /Library/ApplicationSupport and ~/Library/ApplicationSupport for certain shared or custom assets. The idea of keeping everything inside the app worries me from a multiuser perspective.
post #30 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Apps must be self-contained, single application installation bundles, and cannot install code or resources in shared locations.

Apple insists that apps must follow the Apple Macintosh Human Interface Guidelines

Even when Apple itself does not follow these rules for their own Mac applications?
post #31 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mario View Post

This sounds like the beginning of the end of Mac as general computing platform and entry into a non-portable Mac appliance. Couple this with "auto-save" (i.e. hide file system from the user) and a few more OS iterations and Apple will get there.

I think it's really time to move on to more open and free platforms and attempt to save the world from corporations with the goal to own the world, before owning a compiler becomes illegal.

I'm having the same sinking (no pun intended) feeling. In some ways, it may be what is necessary for the evolution of computing. I do truly admire the fact that iOS is an almost maintenance free system. Macs are almost there, but they are still confusing to novices.

The file system is probably one of the the most confusing aspects of a modern computer, and so, it needs to be abstracted away. Apple knows that a lot of engineers love Macs, so I do think there will always be a way to pull the curtain aside, but it may become more and more unusual for an average user to do so.

The biggest problem I see in doing this is limited storage space. If they let you import and edit movies, purchase movies, rip CDs, rip DVDs and so on, you can pretty quickly eat up your disk space. This means you need to manage it. If you need to manage your disk space, you need access to the file system. Meanwhile, they are actually reducing the disk size of the MacBook Air by switching the Flash. So, they have too diametrically opposing goals here: make it so you don't need to manage your file system, while simultaneously making it more necessary to manage because they're reducing the available space.

Also if you're going to set your Mac up to be a file server of any sort, you need access to the file system, since network protocols are all based around mount points and paths.
post #32 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xian Zhu Xuande View Post

This could be very cool. Right now it seems Mac developers (heck, computer developers) have to jack their prices up quite high in order to turn the type of profit they want due to piracy and distribution issues. If they're able to distribute and advertise far more extensively through the app store (and if it helps them defend against privacynot holding my breath on that) it will drives prices down for everyone and profit up for them. Lower prices will also help to further reduce piracy. There are many great Mac apps out there, but they're just not worth $20, $40, or more...

So we can get many of the benefits of the App Store without some of its worst aspects (the walled garden). Everyone can still release their apps through all the old-school traditional means. I'll be watching this one hopefully.

Oh, and death to license keys and shady upgrade cycles.

Not really. Software distribution is pretty cheap, especially if you already distribute over the internet. It certainly doesn't take 30% bite the way Apple does.

I don't like license keys either, but we wouldn't need them if people didn't pirate software. Presumably apps from the app store will be copy protected, so you'll have all the same headaches as other copy-protected media from Apple. You're just trading one problem for another.
post #33 of 176
One thing I'm confused about: It seems that Apps aren't allowed to install plug-ins, but they are allowed to load them? Very strange. How can you load plug-ins if you don't install them?
post #34 of 176
It may that lack of license codes is a problem. Or it may not, depending upon the details of how Apple does this.

Although the guidelines do not include it, Steve's slides clearly said that a purchase is valid for all the Macs a person owns, and not just one. Obviously they will check on this somehow, possibly with an AppleID or similar thing that validates you in the app store.

That's not very different from Pixelmator - they allow you to have it on all your personally-owned Macs. Same is true for Omni (with OmniGraffle).

I do not see the big problem here. Am I missing something?? If so, please be specific 'cos I've looked and can't see it.
post #35 of 176
I wonder if Macs will be locked down just like iOS devices. If not, why should we have to jailbreak iOS devices to add apps we want apart from the App Store?! The App Store is a good idea, but not at the exclusion of other apps outside of the sanctioned channel!
post #36 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

i bet they will though.

And give Apple a 30% cut? I don't think so ...
post #37 of 176
No lockdown. App store is one channel, not the only channel.

Realistically, do you expect folks with a $4000 Mac Pro to be limited to app store??

Or scientific researchers who use lots of open-source software??

No. The Mac is not going to be locked down like an iPhone.
post #38 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by mlaurencg4 View Post

Today's announcement indicated that Apple envisioned an App Store for Mac titles (facilitating easy shopping, software updates, and simple installation). Unfortunately they've already demonstrated their unwillingness to offer ongoing support for their current resource for Mac users to keep up to date on the latest offerings for Apple Macs:

http://www.apple.com/downloads/macosx/

This site is frequently ignored for days or weeks at a time, whereas MacUpdate provides daily releases of information regarding new additions to the plethora of software developed or improved upon for Apple Macs.

Doesn't provide much confidence in the reliability of today's proposed AppStore.

Well if you think about it I'm pretty sure the new app store will replace this which is probably why they have been ignoring it and hiding it away.
post #39 of 176
Within a year's time, I'd bet money that Microsoft will "suddenly" decide to open their own Window's App Store. After all, it's not like they had 20 years to do one of their own.
post #40 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

Within a year's time, I'd bet money that Microsoft will "suddenly" decide to open their own Window's App Store. After all, it's not like they had 20 years to do one of their own.

Microsoft already has/and has had an app store for the desktop arena for years.

Does is have the functionality that Jobs described today... No, but do I want that type of control and access to my personal computer?

Hell No. To do a software scan then the scanner has to access your local computer.

Steve has surpassed Microsoft and Google as the "Do Bad Company".

Unfortunately, their users are too young or too stupid to actually realize this fact.
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