Wil Shipley

How the Mac App store could blow up the software market

December 9, 2010: 1:02 PM ET

Every application developer from Microsoft to the shareware maker in the basement is watching to see how Apple's forthcoming OSX application store will change the dynamics of the software industry.

By John Patrick Pullen, contributor

This time of year, the vision of elves working away in Santa's workshop is on the minds of many — especially Mac application programmers. That's because for them, with the rumored impending launch of the Mac App Store, the concept of tinkering against a midnight deadline is all too real. This new year could launch a new era in desktop software, one which could bring the success of handheld app stores to personal computers. But until the store goes live, there will be a lot of questions about Apple's (AAPL) foray into digital distribution—the biggest being how it will affect the price of software.

"I'll be very curious to see if these desktop marketplaces bring some sort of pricing unity, but at this point it doesn't really exist," says Seth Rosenblatt, an editor for CNet's Download.com, which currently serves as the de facto hub of internet software downloads. According to Rosenblatt, software prices tend to unify by genre but vary widely by function. For example, most anti-virus suites gravitate around the same price point, but differ from the typical cost of photo editing programs. More

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