Gene Steinberg worries that the Mac App Store isn’t serving the customer:
But now consider the millions of people who buy Macs for the very first time each year. Many of them have been exposed to the halo effect of an iPhone and an iPad, and they are accustomed to buying all their software from the App Store. When they boot their new Mac for the very first time, they see in the Dock a Mac App Store. To them, that’s probably the sole repository of software for their new computer.
Now I realize that more sophisticated users, coming from the Windows platform, will explore the availability of other apps online, and they will discover a rich variety of software that isn’t offered in Apple’s storefront. But many others will never stray beyond the default setting, nor bother looking elsewhere for useful apps. That’s not a good thing for developers who seek the freedom to expand the possibilities of the Mac platform with their apps. It doesn’t serve the customer, because they are often missing out on some very good things. [emphasis mine]
Are customers really missing out on good things by relying on the Mac App Store?
Who is the customer of the Mac App Store? Most likely, not you. Not entirely, anyway.
Mac App Store restrictions help to create a robust and safe market for curated platform software. They’re features, just as they are on the iOS App Store.
If you instead find these restrictions limiting, you’re a power user and can find software elsewhere. You know how to install this software and you’re capable of dealing with issues that might arise from doing so.
Few people handle technical complexity well. The lucky ones who can are a small minority sharing the platform with many more who cannot. You’d naturally like your utility software to also be available in the Mac App Store, but most people wouldn’t know what to do when things went awry. Utility developers naturally want to offer their software in the Mac App Store, but if that software would lead most people into the weeds it should be rightly stopped at the gate.
Imagine people who don’t change default settings, who rely on the Mac App Store for software. When you propose weakening the restrictions imposed by the Mac App Store, are you thinking of them, or yourself? If removing or weakening a restriction would cause these people grief, what are they supposed to do when they encounter a problem?
Apple introduced the Mac App Store for these people. If it turns out that power users can use the Mac App Store for some of their needs, then great. But those power users shouldn’t expect to use it for all of their needs.