December 30, 2008
The iPhone's Golden Touch
Tapping into the Apple phone craze, accidental entrepreneurs rake in millions by creating popular applications. The Washington Post reports.
... Thousands of people are writing applications for the iPhone and selling them through Apple's App Store, which is part of the iTunes online marketplace. Apple launched the App Store in July and has delivered more than 300 million downloads of more than 10,000 applications (some choice samples: a free Bloomberg stock-market terminal and a 99-cent "iBeer" that sloshes around when you tilt the phone).
"We've never seen anything like this in our careers," Apple chief executive Steve Jobs told Wall Street analysts on an earnings conference call in October.
Apple won't say how much money the App Store is taking in, nor will it say how many of the 300 million downloads were free apps and how many cost money (most apps are free; the others cost anywhere from a buck to $10). Apple gets a 30 percent cut of revenue generated by apps.
But for Apple right now the money isn't the point. The big thing is the race to become the dominant mobile-computing platform, the way IBM-standard PCs running Microsoft operating software -- first DOS and then Windows -- came to dominate personal computing in the 1980s and early 1990s.
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