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Even Steve Jobs Didn’t Realize How Big The App Store Would Get

Even Steve Jobs Didn’t Realize How Big The App Store Would Get

A newly unearthed interview from 10 years ago shows how Apple’s Steve Jobs couldn’t even predict how big the App Store would get

Earlier today The Wall Street Journal released an interview with Steve Jobs from 2008, the year the app store was born. The interview occurred on August 7th – nearly a month after the App Store launched. WSJ jointly published the audio and transcript of the interview with The Information for the first time.

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Jobs, of course, was a fan of the App Store and saw its potential to bridge the gap between apps and the iPhone, similar to what iTunes did for the iPod.

We think that the result…It’s the same exact strategy as the iPod. Enhance the device with internet-delivered content. Beyond iTunes, we can wirelessly deliver the content right on the device, without a PC. We can automatically update the apps. It’s standing on the shoulders of iTunes.

Jobs then said how, at the time, there were roughly 50 new apps launching on the App Store every day. That number had risen to about 60 thousand a month by 2014. There’s even speculation that there will be as many as 5 million apps available on the App Store by 2020. The images below show the top 10 apps currently available in the App Store (40% of them are owned by Facebook).

The interview then moves into issues such as copyright and taste. Jobs explains how Apple wouldn’t allow porn, obviously, but how even back then they were facing copyright issues between app developers and companies.  One of the examples he gives is how they had to remove an app that listed Rotten Tomatoes scores for movies because Fox had not given the developer permission to feature the content.

The 60 million apps that were downloaded from the App Store 10 years ago are minuscule compared to the 197 billion downloads last year.

Jobs also didn’t seem to know how much money the App Store would generate for the company. In the interview, he talks about the future of the App Store and how he believed it could one day become a billion dollar marketplace. Last month, Apple announced that $100 billion had been paid to developers.

Who knows? Maybe it’ll be a billion dollar marketplace at some point in time. This doesn’t happen very often. A whole new billion dollar market opens up. 360 million in the first 30 days, I’ve never seen anything like this in my career for software.

The full interview and transcript can be found on the Wall Street Journal but let us know what you think about Jobs’ predictions about the App Store in the comments section below. And be sure to subscribe to The Sitch for more Apple news and other entertaining reads.

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