Happy fifth birthday to the Apple innovation that changed everything

Steve Jobs introduces the App Store in 2008. Credit: IDGNS

As we celebrate the five year anniversary of the Apple App store today, it's worth stepping back for a moment and considering just how much this concept changed the world for developers, users, and IT pros.

Nobody could have guessed when the App Store opened on July 10, 2008, that it would have the impact it did, but it ushered in a whole new way of looking at software and it altered user expectations forever.

Before the app concept came along, we had really big -- some might even say bloated -- software packages. On the individual level we had tools like Microsoft Office and Adobe Creative Suite. On the enterprise side, we had monolithic software packages to handle functions like accounting and financial management, CRM, content management, and so forth. 

I'm sure Steve Jobs and his minions didn't realize the power of what were they were doing when they created the App Store. I'm guessing (because I wasn't privy to their thinking) that they simply saw a need. The wanted to expand beyond the few standard iPhone apps and didn't want to be in the software development business -- at least directly. So they had an idea, a perfectly wonderful, awful idea.

They would create an App Store and a development platform and they would skim some money off the top under a 70/30 revenue sharing split, and it worked great. In fact, it probably worked better than they ever imagined.

What they couldn't known though was that the iPhone, the iPad and later the Android and other smart phones that followed would have a profound impact on IT as the consumerization movement was born.

Users suddenly felt empowered. They could do things on their own that they could never have done before the App Store. They could provision software with a couple of taps and they could use these simple apps in incredibly productive ways.

After that, it was a fairly quick jump to BYOD as employees realized they could get a lot more done with their home smartphone, rather than the dumpy thing the IT department handed out to them every few years.

The birth of the App Store also brought forth a sea change in the relationship between IT and end users. IT suddenly wasn't the only game in town. It didn't have all the answers. If IT wasn't going to do it for them, well they had these powerful gadgets in their pockets, and by golly, they could do it themselves.

The backlash of this change is still being felt to this day. The fact this publication even exists is because five years ago, Apple opened up that App Store and ushered in that change that was so fundamental and so sweeping that it required a whole publication to address it, report on it and analyze it.

Whatever you think of Apple and Steve Jobs, you can't deny the ramifications that App Store has had on every aspect of our computing lives. 

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