Apple to launch Mac App Store next week, says report

Company has until January to meet Steve Jobs' deadline

Apple will launch its Mac App Store next week, according to a blog that cited an "inside source" at the company.

In a Monday post, Appletell said that Apple, which had originally planned to open the Mac cousin to its popular App Store for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch today, will instead debut the online mart Dec. 13.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced the Mac App Store during a press event Oct. 20, saying then that the store would launch "within 90 days," which would put the last-possible debut date in the second half of January 2011.

Analysts have described Apple's new App Store as "disruptive" to the traditional software channel, which relies on retail and online sales. Many Mac developers sell their wares directly to customers via the Internet.

In October, Jobs said that Apple would take a 30% cut of all revenues in the new store, the same percentage it collects from software makers who sell products in the current iOS App Store.

The Mac App Store page on Apple's site simply says the e-market is "coming soon."

Although the launch may be imminent, Apple has continued to post App Store information for developers. Last Thursday, for instance, the company informed developers that beta, demo and trial versions of their software would not be allowed into the App Store, telling them, "The apps you submit to be reviewed for the Mac App Store should be fully functional, retail versions."

Apple's rules also apparently bar some retail software from the Mac App Store.

Bjango, for example, has said that its iStat Menus, a popular system diagnostic utility that displays CPU and memory usage, network and disk activity, interior temperatures and more, will not be allowed in Apple's online store.

"At this point, it seems to break a lot of the rules," Bjango said on its Twitter account two weeks ago in response to a customer's question about iStat Menus. "So no Mac App Store version."

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His e-mail address is gkeizer@computerworld.com.

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