The concept of the App Store seems as though it is uniquely Apple’s, but in reality this is just the most public representation. Beyond the iTunes’ App Store the Nokia Ovi and Andriod have both made themselves an over all presence in the world of mobile apps, though some are a little more popular than others. Most recently the GetJar app store began making claims that its popularity puts it right behind the iTunes’ App Store, and on June 7th at 11:02 AM it broke the fabled one billion download mark.
What GetJar does is allow itself to be a cross-platform application store focusing strictly on mobile devices. In terms of cross-platform app stores GetJar is doing incredibly well, right now offering over 60,000 apps. Anyone that would know anything about the iTunes’ App Store would know that this is chump change, especially since they have already surpassed the five billion download mark. It is not GetJar’s current state that should worry Apple, but instead what it represents for the future. Cross-platform app stores have the ability to appeal to multiple markets and if developers begin to see this structure as having more potential it is going to pull away from Apple’s pedigree as the exclusive distributor of top of the line applications. Since the exclusive monopoly runs between the iPhone and the App Store a blow like this would not just be a blow to the iTunes’ model, but the entire iPhone empire as a whole. This works in a similar way to the videogame console shift of the mid-nineties. While consoles like the Playstation focused in on third party developers Nintendo made their top priority games that came only from them. This did create some quality work, but Playstation ended up taking a dominant portion of the market and almost pushed Nintendo out of the console market entirely.
There is nothing set in stone about GetJar, and the odds are likely still against them. One weapon they do have strapped to their back is the support of the international company Accel Partners. Along with this GetJar is spreading around its investment as much as possible, providing app content for the Android, Blackberry, Windows Mobile and Symbian. If the iPhone has the power to bump all of these then it will reign with an undisputed relevance in the mobile apps market, but as things shift more toward web apps and competitive phones begin to rival the iPhone companies like GetJar seem to make a lot more sense.