Apple didn’t invent the App Store

Apple is making a preposterous claim to the trademark office that they invented the app store concept and name and they’re asking a Judge to stop Amazon from even using the words “app store”. It’s baffling why such a phenomenal company who is trouncing the competition needs to resort to underhanded legal tactics, but I want to set the record straight that Apple neither invented the concept nor the term. Amazon and anyone else should be able to use the generic term application (or app) store.

In their legal papers Apple misstates computer history to build their case as the inventor of the application store. Apple says, “…nothing like the App Store has ever been attempted before.” They go on to say that, “the term app store was not in general use” before July 8th, 2008 when they launched their version for the iPhone.

A trip back in time reveals at least one popular one-click store which predates Apple’s attempt by at least 5 years. I know because I built it. It was a service called “Click-N-Run” (or CNR) made by a company I founded called Linspire. Rather than having to search all over the net for software to add to your PC I thought it would be ideal to have one giant catalog which lists all available applications. Rather than have a cumbersome multi-step software installation process (which was even worse under Linux) it should just be one click. With CNR a single mouse click would download and install the software so it was ready to run; hence the name Click-N-Run. You can watch a 25 sec video here of selecting an app, having it download (watch green progress bar at the bottom) and then be put into the menu on the PC ready to launch.

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