New Mac App Store could be competition for local retailers

Friday, January 7, 2011 | 4:44 p.m. CST; updated 6:47 p.m. CST, Saturday, January 8, 2011

COLUMBIA — Apple launched its new Mac App Store online Thursday.

The store, which is similar to the App store on Apple's mobile devices, provides a simple interface for users to buy and download software for their laptops and desktop computers. This new store could impact a few local businesses.

With a new software update, the store becomes visible on the user's dock and makes available more than 1,000 apps with a simple click and download. The apps, which range from free to more than $70, include games, productivity software and photo and video editing software.

The software included in the "iLife" and "iWork" packages is available for download individually instead of bundled as a package. John Adams, the assistant manager at TigerTech inside the MU bookstore, said this option could impact sales at the store.

"It's something we're going to watch," he said. "I see it affecting iWorks more than anything else."

The iWork bundle, made up of Numbers, Pages and Keynote, is $71 through any retailer, including the Apple Store locations. Through the new app store, each of the three programs is only $19.99.

This price difference is what Duane Burghard of MacXprts found most interesting about the App Store. 

"It's not affecting just us," he said. "It's the Apple Stores and Best Buys too. What's more likely to me is they'll adjust the prices for us."

Burghard, the original CEO of MacXprts and current chairman of the Board of Directors for the national company, said this is just another step in a changing business model.

"The tech industry is continually changing," he said. "Whether or not this is effecting us positively or negatively, it's not good or bad. It just is. Whenever one opportunity goes away another presents itself."

Both Burghard and Adams are interested in seeing how the App Store will evolve. The mobile version of the store started out with just 500 apps but now has over 300,000.

"It may or may not end the business of software sales," Burghard said. "It's way too early to tell. There are still going to be people who want that disc to touch or want it preinstalled on a machine."

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