So far, Taylor's instincts seem to be correct. On the Mac laptop and desktop, users are willing to pay more for
great software. Among the top 100 Mac App Store
applications, the average selling price is $22.54, according to market research
firm Distimo. That's about $20 more than the average price for the top 100 iPhone apps. The Mac App Store is
the desktop equivalent of the wildly popular App Store for iOS devices, which aims to simplify the way Mac users
discover and purchase applications for their computers.
While the "freemium" business model has flourished on iOS, Mac developers selling their goods on the Mac App
Store haven't embraced the freemium trend for sales. The term "freemium" is a bit of jargon that refers to a free
app that entices you to fork over money to unlock more features through in-app purchases. Only 4 percent of the
top-grossing Mac apps are freemium, versus 50 percent for mobile app stores.
Although app-store skeptics like to dismiss these stores as a place for silly diversions rather than serious
desktop software, that stigma has more to do with the difference between phones and full-size PCs than with the
app-store business model. On the iPhone, games are the dominant category, according to data from market researchers
at Distimo and AppFigures. In the Mac App Store, however, utilities are
the most popular, and productivity apps are among the top three categories (although, to be fair, so are games and
entertainment apps). The data suggests that on desktop computers, fart apps and other time wasters aren't such a
'People Love Installing Software'
That's not to say that smaller, cheaper, single-use apps won't play a role in desktop app stores. But instead of
cannibalizing larger apps, they may draw people away from the open Web.
Healy Jones, vice president of marketing for OfficeDrop, noticed this
shift away from the Web immediately after his company released mobile and desktop apps for its document-scanning
OfficeDrop, which provides searchable cloud storage, says that it sees seven times more user engagement through
its apps than it does through the Web browser, Jones notes. Since releasing its first apps in 2011, OfficeDrop's
user base has grown from 7000 users to 140,000 users.
"We had a thesis that people did not want to install software; that the cloud meant that people could use a
browser to interact with software and would never have to install anything. We were completely wrong," Jones says.
"People love installing software."