back to article Intel: Apple has online app sales exactly backwards

Apple may be having phenomenal success with its iOS App Store ecosystem, but Intel thinks it's going about online app sales in the wrong way. As might be expected, Intel prefers its app-store-in-a-box AppUp program, which allows world+dog to create their own app stores using its software tools, then let Intel handle all the …


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  1. dogged

    "You got a hat store for a hat"

    Actually, that makes a scary amount of sense.

    Nobody likes supermarkets.

    1. Mark 65


      Indeed, it is Intel that is thinking the wrong way by trying to replicate real world stores/high streets in the ether. The reason monolithic stores work in the electronic world is "search". I don't trip over a hammer looking for a hat because there are no hammers if I searched for a hat. If the search is good enough then the store size isn't a problem.

      Like you want to move around multiple different stores when looking for apps and content for your devices - one aggregated search function, one relationship and one payment will do nicely thanks.

      Maybe he doesn't explain things well but, from this, I just don't see the point.

      1. Dale 3

        The traditional model

        @Mark 65 hit the nail on the head (so to speak). Retail tradition is having lots of different stores for different things. That's exactly what Intel's AppUp product is, and exactly what Apple's App Store isn't.

        Everything the Intel guy said was "wrong" with Apple should in fact be applied to his own product. Maybe he should have another look at Apple's sales statistics before commenting how wrong Apple is. They seem to be doing rather well actually.

      2. Peter 48

        what if you don't know what you are searching for?

        Using search is great if you know how to narrow down your search parameters and also know what you are looking for in the first place. To stick with the hat example, if you know that you are looking for a fedora or a Stetson then you can simply search for it and it look at the selection of such hats, but what if you don't know which hat would be best for your given situation? This is where a dedicated hat store can help by giving specialist advice, something a monolith like WalMart can't offer compared to a dedicated highstreet retailer. What Intel are proposing is a shopping mall with a huge number of specialist retailers under one roof compared to Apple and Android which act like an all in one supermarket. Neither platform is wrong, they simply address different market needs.

        1. Guido Esperanto
          Paris Hilton


          "what if you don't know what you are searching for? → #"

          That by implication means you do not want anything. This is where real world retail works best you have a physical store to "mooch" around until something catches your eye.

          In the ether, if you dont know what to look for then you dont want anything

          Sticking with your hat analogy however, you want a hat, but you dont know what sort. You will then do some research to narrow your criteria down, style, size, colour, fabric. Then you search the ether for the perfect product.

          1. Stoneshop


            ""what if you don't know what you are searching for? → #"

            That by implication means you do not want anything."

            Bzzt, wrong.

            Quite often, I know I need something, but barely know how to look for it. And that's not because I don't know how to use Google/Yahoo/Bing.

            The biggest problem I currently have with searching for an item I need is simply getting the right keywords to feed all those search boxes. Anything from inconsistent naming (yes, I'm looking at you, down to "what the hell does one call this widget anyway?" is the main hurdle to finding things online, whereas in a brick-and-mortar store I can wander the aisles until I hit a shelf that has thingummies that are kindof similar to the widget I'm looking for, then narrow it down.

  2. Justin Clements


    We want to compete, we have nothing to offer.....

    I know, we'll slag everyone else off, tell everyone the market leaders are doing it wrong, and that our vapourware will win out in the end.


  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Any diversity at the moment is good

    While I'm not entirely convinced that there aren't some unique benefits to a vertical centralised model like the Apple and Google versions, I think at this point in time any diversity is a good thing.

    Also, this Intel approach does seem to fit in well with the general concept of distribution and openess of technologies that seems to be the hallmark of the Internet age. It's like a Paypal of App Stores. Though it seems somewhat PC specific and rough around the edges. Where's the Mac on Intel support?

    That said, I think 70/30 is a bit optimistic of Intel, given Apple effectively have a captured market, lol.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Backwards you say...

    Others may be going the wrong way, but apparently not entirely. I think I've seen some parts somewhere else before:

    (From AppUp FAQ)

    "Do you support in-app advertising and subscriptions?

    In-app advertising, subscriptions, and links to external marketplaces for in-app purchases are permitted for a limited time. We understand that these features are important to you and are not yet available in the SDK. Until they become available, you are free to implement them on your own. As we roll these features into the SDK, we will then require that they be implemented through the SDK."

    Also interesting that Intel's store is x86 only. Apparently some "molecular thinking" is still involved and not everything is "free electrons".

    However overall it is an interesting idea.

    1. Daniel 1

      I have a suggested edit for that FAQ

      "Do you support in-app advertising and subscriptions?

      Of course we fucking do. The whole point, of steering people into ever narrower alleyways of economic activity, is to better profile them and monitor their interests - so that we can target lots of advertising at them! We haven't actually fixed the targeted advertising bit, yet, but once we have, you'll have to use our custom advertising SDK, because, frankly, creaming off 30% of your profit margins isn't enough for us, and we want more."

      "Do you actually plan to let us sell any non-Intel stuff

      Non-Intel stuff doesn't exist. Here, look at this picture of a kitten."

      1. Jedit Silver badge

        Jokes are funnier without spelling mistakes

        For instance, in yours you consistently spell "Apple" I-N-T-E-L. Better fix that next time.

  5. ratfox

    Intel sells software solutions now?

    I'm sure Intel must be right. Apple is obviously going the wrong way about this. How else to explain the lack of success of their App Store?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Big Brother

      AppleSoc = IngSoc

      It's easy to get 100% of the market share when you don't allow users to shop anywhere else.

  6. Old Handle
    Thumb Down

    It's still just one store

    Or at best, one chain of stores. I little poking around quickly reveals Intel will still be the sole arbiter of what apps are to be allowed in. That clearly goes against the stated purpose. Surely the hat shop owner is more suited to decided what is an acceptable hat. But no, nice try Intel.

    And yes there's the inevitable "no porn" rule, even though keeping it in a separate "store" eliminates any reasonable justification for such a rule.

  7. cloudgazer

    but how do I shop for my shop

    I mean I want to get a text editor for my computer, so I go to the .... text editor shop? productivity shop? developer shop? And you just know there will be 10 of each? So first I have to go to the meta-shop and shop for a shop, every damn time!

    Then how long before AMD decides to produce a shop of shop shops?

    I think I prefer the one stop shop.

    1. Graeme 7

      1000 shops or 1000 hats?

      I completely agree. Having 1000 hat shops each with their own selection of 1000 hats is just going to make it much more difficult to find that hat you want rather than having 1 shop containing all 1000 hats. (Apple could improve their app search though)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      As a fine El Reg reader

      You would go to The Register's shop, where the editors edit you!

  8. Robert Synnott

    RE: Backwards you say...

    So, hmm, they're going to ban outside advertisers? Even Apple didn't dare that (it briefly put considerable restrictions on advertisers who collected personally identifying information, at the time clearly targeting Google's AdMob, but backed down). I doubt Google will be impressed.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    AppUp? Thumbs down!

    I completed a development project for a client, which was to create a free magazine reader app with social networking mixed in. It was a pretty nice app. In the AppUp store you can see how many users downloaded your app. After 3 weeks.. we had 6 downloads! And one of them was me. The UI of the store that gets pre-installed on networks is truly appalling and buggy.

    AppUp store will be dead within 6-12 months I am sure.

  10. Tony Paulazzo


    >given Apple effectively have a captured market, lol.<

    So did Compuserve, AOL and Myspace. Things can change fast in cyberspace.

    There are a lot of accounts being stolen from the outskirts of Apples AppStore and being sold in China, Apples response: Talk to your bank. You must have given out your password. Not our problem.

  11. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Have they even used it?

    There are lots of apps in app stores and it is becoming rather tricky to find something you don't yet know of. But to say you need to break up the app stores into lots of smaller ones is a bit ridiculous.

    That's like saying Google should be split into multiple search engines, one for news, one for music, one for entertainment.

    You can see why Intel are still largely a chip maker.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sounds like ASS

    that's App Store as a Service, of course

  13. Rob Moss.

    Bike Polo and fixies

    The reference to Bike Polo and Fixies is relevant but the link is to the older Grass Polo variety for gentlemen of leisure

    Exhibit A, Prince Phillip:

    I think Rik actually means Hard Court Bike Polo, played on concrete/asphalt surfaces and is growing in numbers

    Exhibit B:

    Check it out

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Mark 65

    "If the search is good enough then the store size isn't a problem."

    And there lies the rub. Because the search in both apple, and, suprisingly (given its made by the search specialists) Android stores, is completely and utterly rubbish. There is no search you can do that doesn't result in you being snowed under by dozens or hundreds of irrelevant trash or identikit copies. With loads of specialist, curated, app stores, you will hopefully end up being able to find stores that don't stock the crap, and only present you with a reasonable selection of stuff that you actually want.

    1. Daniel 1

      So you fix the search

      Poor search is a computing problem, not a economic one. Saying that the search is bad, and thus efforts based on search are inherently bad, is a bit like saying you should ditch your database and go with lots of little flat text files because you can't work out how to optimise your queries.

      Apple's app store is a train wreck, but not because of it's one-stop approach. It shoots itself in the foot through not actually being a proper free market. That doesn't mean the model is wrong. It just means that deliberately limiting the range of goods you sell, for a variety of commercial, ideological, or, occasionally, down-right geeky reasons, is bad business.

      Google's is a disaster because they don't actually want to do any organising in the first place.

      The "small shops" approach simply offloads the job of sorting and categorising everything, to other people - all these supposed enthusiastic little shops. However, shopping on the high street, is something everyone seems to think everyone else should be doing: elderly spinsters in thick grey stockings, perhaps, keeping the village store alive by cycling in, once a week, to buy butter in weighed quantities.

      But even when it is done, you know what actually happens: they go to the specialist store; seek advice from the knowledgeable and enthusiastic sales assistant; work out which product will be best for them; then go home and buy it on Amazon. Intel's "small shops" approach is an attempt to split what profits do exist, two ways, in hopes that this can still undercut the one-stop shop. Every app vendor will still know, however, that they'd better make sure their product was available on the one-stop place, because that's where most of the punters will actually buy from.

      Why even have your own store, when referrals are often simpler and less hassle, anyway? The referrals business is growing and will probably become the model to be followed, by anyone wanting to make money from a specialist recommendations system.

      1. JonHendry

        Remind me not to hire you for your business skills

        "That doesn't mean the model is wrong. It just means that deliberately limiting the range of goods you sell, for a variety of commercial, ideological, or, occasionally, down-right geeky reasons, is bad business."

        Um, no. Limiting the range of goods is *essential*. What you describe, carrying *everything* regardless of quality, demand, redundancy, or relevance, isn't good business, it's more like *hoarding*. And your store would soon look like one of those homes full of 6 foot piles of old newspapers, pizza boxes, fast food wrappers, and dead cats, with barely enough room to walk.

        If you think, you might recall that successful retailers tend not to look like flea markets or large car boot sales.

  15. jubtastic1

    Sounds reasonable

    Until you consider that the "we sell everything" approach of Amazon and eBay are the success stories of online shopping.

    I suspect the reasons for this are twofold, firstly punters recognise the shop and know it's legit and secondly, because they sell everything.

  16. Guido Esperanto


    "AppUp is the world's largest app store that nobody's ever heard of,"

    Does anyone else get sick of the farsical attitudes that companies employ to arrogantly promote their products?

    Take that statement, it makes no frickin sense whatsoever.

    It may be my age or experience or whatever, but whenever I see titles like that I automatically think

    "all mouth and no trousers".

    Its epidemic in every industry "this film is like the matrix, meets inception with bourne as the lead character" your film is shit and is trying to hang onto the coat tails of superior offerings.

    "This product will make the ipad2 look like a ZX Spectrum" - ergo, we have no defining characteristics or benefits so we'll slag off the competition. (that one I made up)

    I have a love/hate relationship with apple. I personnally hate their products and their tie ins, but I love as a business how successful they are being.

    If you want to top a market leader, dont come out all blowing your own trumpet, actually produce something THAT IS BETTER and let the product do its own talking.

    /rant over.

  17. Adam T

    Blogs as Shops?

    I had to force myself to read this article, just to get to the punch - what is Pete Biddle talking about? Some new paradigm for selling? Something that's going to revolutionise online retail?

    No, he's talking about something that's been around for years: Affiliate & referral programmes.

    Go to any App Review site (such as and click on a game link at the bottom of the page. There you go, you've found a way to buy games via the places you find has similar interests, and the bonus is that your transaction details are held by one company, and not every blog you read.

    I'm all for blogs paying their way, even becoming successful businesses, but in case nobody's noticed, people are wanting to reduce the number of places they enter personal details, not increase them.

  18. Ben 50

    AppUp is powered by the now defunct Adobe InStore engine

    Now that Adobe have cancelled InStore, you think they're going to keep developing it for somebody like Intel - who were only supposed to be their first flagship customer of many....

    Doomed, I tell you, doomed.

  19. cordwainer 1

    Right, about this Biddle person...

    OK, I've been trying to make some sense of the whole mess, with a growing sense of astonished frustration, as I can't figure out for the life of me what Intel intends to do.

    A "headman" named Peter Biddle sounds like a joke, unfortunately (though I admit childishly to fitting multiple initial letters on his surname, such as D, F and P).

    I'm still not convinced he isn't. First, he criticizes a marketplace based on a 150-year-old model by claiming it treats apps as if they were physical goods rather than "free" electrons. Confusingly, he then goes on to talk about AppUp as if he believed online buyers interact with other buyers in person as they do in physical retail stores.

    I also can't reconcile the purported idea of enticing customers to discover new things - stuff they "never would have thought" they liked - with his claim the different demographics don't WANT to encounter each other or anything new.

    Compare the quotes below, for example, and explain to me how the first one is not a direct contradiction of the next two:

    1. "We love the idea that there could be thousands of stores," said Biddle, "and each store can specialize in its own goods, its own merchandising, its own marketing, its own promotions, its own look and feel, its own user community based on [the] premise that people want to buy an appropriate array of digital goods that will simultaneously reinforce who they are, and also delight them with stuff. 'Wow, I didn't know about that. Now that I found it, I'm so glad that I came to your store, because you presented me with this thing that I never would have thought I liked, but now I do'."

    2: One central tenet of the AppUp model is...a wide variety of different stores, each catering to a different demographic. "Hipsters want to shop at hipster stores," he said."If you were looking for a hat, you don't want to trip over a hammer – you're looking for a hat. You go to a hat store for a hat."

    3: It's not only the amount of targeted, easy-to-find content that makes multple online stores attractive, Biddle argues. It's also the ability to target different demographics. "If you're a working mom who's looking for great educational titles for your kids," he said, "you don't want to be bumping into a bunch of hipsters talking about their fixies and bicycle polo."


    How can potential buyers find "digital goods" that "reinforce who they are," [IS there an app for that?] AND also be introduced to new stuff that delights them...if those same potential buyers from multiple demographic groups are directed to specialty stores selling ONLY what they are looking for? Where they never have to "bump" into anything else? Never trip over another product?

    Aren't the two mutually exclusive?

    It seems there is a pervasive mid-20th-Century mentality underlying Biddle's babble. For example, as noted before, how would buyers end up "bumping into a bunch of hipsters" anyway? And what the hell is a "hipster store" when you're talking about apps anyway?

    One of the obvious advantages of buying online is anonymity. You don't have to feel out of place. No one knows you're a dog, not even the cat browsing with you, unless you decide to dump your Yoda avatar and start barking.

    But Biddle talks up AppUp as if it were a mall full of trendy retail stores patronized by gangs of teens and 20-somethings snickering at gray-hairs trying on the wrong pant and shirt combination.

    Has it occurred to Intel maybe, just maybe, working moms - AND dads, ahem - looking for educational software might actually be grateful to find, say, a forum on the same site devoted to activities their children are already involved in? Or asking to try? That parents might WANT to keep up with current events, fads, sports, games, etc.? Be aware of their offspring's lives as a whole, not simply toss math and reading apps at them?

    Oh, and by the way, Biddle: Bicycle polo was invented in 1891, and is played around the world by people of all ages, childhood to retirement

    It's hard to imagine a more antiquated, condescending, ill-prepared presentation of an allegedly 21st Century marketing and online-store concept. Worse, Intel represents itself as a technology-forward corporation, but sent Biddle to meet the press with something technologically soggy and shapeless.

    So what on earth is AppUp going to do that will update or revolutionize anything? How will it be an improvement? Am I the only one who can't figure that out from Biddle's verbiage?

    I mean, aren't the lines already blurred? Seems to me "Mom and Pop" are rapidly realizing they can work from the upstairs bedroom while simultaneously watching a football game and sharing the experience via webcam with their kids vacationing in Italy. And a lot of parents are young "hipsters" themselves.

    Those ridiculous terms are another indication Intel is stuck in a marketing morass of "molecular" thinking more outdated than the model Biddle belittles. Of the multiple modern definitions of "hipster", none is completely complimentary (most are clearly insulting), and most of those who meet the stated criteria HATE being called hipsters.

    Isn't there a word for this trick? Trying to grab a slice of the pie, claiming to be a contender, but unable even to DEFINE what they intend to do? Out of touch with almost any demographic, and ever-changing popular culture? Chasing after illusory billions at the expense of solid, continuing revenue and a reliable product?[coughSandyBridge$300millioncough]

    Microsoft Zuning and Bing'ing as Windows burned, Cisco's Flipiasco, choose your favorite ego trip. They're like tone-deaf singers leaping on every bandwagon rolling by, demanding to be the new lead vocalist.

    Maybe the Register should hold a contest. Readers of Vulture Central can certainly come up with a good term for companies in the grip of temporary insanity spouting rabid, buzzword-driven, terminally vague "plans" to re-invent the wheel. I can't be the only one weary of baseless hype over yet another crude circular object revolving on a wobbly axis.

    Ahhhhh...a nice long rant. Just what I needed. Cheers,


  20. poohbear

    Who you gonna trust?

    The point Intel is missing is that its (relatively) safe to download an app from Apple or Google, but from some mickey-mouse website you never heard of? On to your mobile, where it can dial premium numbers to its heart's content?

    I don't think so.

  21. Sam Paton

    Sounds Familiar

    I suggested almost exactly this idea to Symbian about five years ago. That They do a shell store that operators or end users can customise and take revenue from but is integrated directly to the phones.

    If only I wasn't so lazy at turning ideas into products

  22. NHS IT guy

    I'm sorry, what?

    Dear Christ that man can talk a lot of bollocks without actually saying anything! That was one of the single most painful things I've ever had to read.

    Intel: Stick to what you're good at - making silicon.

  23. Anonymous Coward


    ...when he started talking about hats, I zoned off the article and didn't give a flying about how it ended.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ever heard of

    different categories (aisles) within the same app store (supermarket)?

  25. Lamont Cranston


    the future of the web is hyperlinks? Who'd a thunk it?

  26. xperroni

    Totally agree to it

    Not only that, I think Apple should heed any and all advice coming from Intel regarding consumer market strategies. Just look at who between the two has had the most success at directly reaching consumers!

    Oh, wait...

  27. Anonymous Coward


    Won't work. Apple (and G) do most app sales using photons. Electrons get about their own business quickly if you're not using a wire.

  28. Britt Johnston

    go for the jugular

    If there is a weakness to the Apple appletstore, it is the percentage profit model. Zero-Price applets bring Apple no money: and high-value applets and customers won't accept the cost of the service. Either or both of these customer types could be wooed by any adequate applatform with a different pricing model.

  29. TheOtherHobbbes

    The Intel is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

    Let's just see where Intel's hat - I mean app - store is in a year or two.

    My money is on "nowhere" - because IntelGuy sounds like something out of a Dilbert cartoon.

    Apple is going to snowed by others eventually, because the tiny app model won't be able to compete against the next couple of shiny new web/server things.

    But that won't be for a while yet. And on this showing, IntelGuy will be out flipping start-ups into nowhere land by then.

  30. Anonymous Coward

    App store...

    So Biddle says that you should you to a hat store if you want to buy a hat. By the same token, if you want to buy an app you go to an app store.

    If I am looking for an app at the app store I am not going to trip over any hammers, because app stores do not sell hammers.

    For sure, there are flaws with Apple's model for selling apps. However, there seem to be more problems with this Intel genius revealed to us here.

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