Amazon’s Mac Download Store is Welcome

The Big TentThe news that Amazon has opened a Mac download store where apps can be directly download to a Mac has some bloggers in a tizzy. Amazon is competing with Apple. Oh, the horror. In fact, this is just business as usual, and it’s actually very good for Macintosh customers.

The more ways Apple’s Mac customers can buy software the better. It creates more awareness of Apple, creates a new place for developers to make money, and it fuels demand for Apple’s products.

In fact, downloading software directly from Amazon isn’t a new thing. Amazon has apparently offered direct downloads of Intuit’s TurboTax in the past. This new store merely collects and offers about 250 Mac titles, including something not available on Apple’s Mac App Store (MAS): Microsoft Office.

We wonder about whether Amazon might be enticing developers to this store by taking a smaller cut than Apple does, but that’s just speculation and likely a second order effect. We also note that Amazon wisely sidestepped the contentious issue of the “App Store” name. As a result, Apple should be happy about this new outlet. It emphasizes the popularity of the Mac and demonstrates opportunities in the Apple ecosphere for entrepreneurs.

The real issue is choice. After all, the MAS offers a certain amount of convenience: the Mac keeps track of the downloads, necessary updates and makes the buying and installation experience really easy. On the other hand, many software titles can’t abide by the rules Apple has set up regarding the installation, structure and operation of software in the Mac App Store.  (MS Office is one example of that.) So here’s a chance for developers, with slightly more complex software to get some visibility at Amazon’s watering hole. The downside: it’ll be up to the customer to manage updates. So there is a clear trade-off for customers.

It’s a win-win for everyone. Thanks Amazon.