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Head to Head: Intel AppUp vs Apple Mac App Store

App stores aren't just for smartphones - they're now invading our desktops. But which model should the industry follow - Intel's netbook-focussed shopfront or Apple's tightly-policed App Store?

Conclusion

Both AppUp and the Mac App Store are reasonably mature given the relative obscurity of Intel's store and the very recent introduction of Apple's store. It seems obvious to us that both stores are heavily based on the iPhone App Store. We'd be very surprised if Microsoft or Amazon weren't planning a Windows app store of their own. If they are, they could learn a few lessons from the efforts of Apple and Intel.

The ideal desktop app store would have the refined interface and flexible payment options of the Mac App Store, an apps recommendation and social networking component similar to the one in iTunes as well as volume licensing and the ability for existing customers to get discounted upgrades to new versions of apps. This ideal app store would also have a more liberal admissions policy than either Apple's or Intel's, but we doubt this will happen.

IT managers in the workplace will be initially tempted to block access to app stores considering the large number of games and social networking apps available on both AppUp and the Mac App Store. IT professionals will likely want to preserve their control over what software can be installed on deployed computers, if only to reduce any potential technical support headaches. However, these app stores could provide a model for companies to use for distributing their own internal software.

Smaller companies may be tempted to try out the commercial app stores however, given their liberal copy protection policies, even though they're explicitly licensed for households rather than offices. What's clear is that app stores are here to stay and their continued evolution will be fascinating to watch.

Verdict

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