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Even if you don't believe that AT&T (NYSE: T ) is killing the iPhone -- and many of you, including Foolish colleague Seth Jayson, don't -- there's no denying the importance of the iTunes App Store. Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL ) CEO Steve Jobs recently told The Wall Street Journal that the store, which hosts dozens of free and for-sale iPhone software, booked $30 million in revenue in its first 30 days.
Investors should be salivating. As a phone, the iPhone isn't all that different than its peers. Yes, it has a touch screen, but so do models from Taiwan's High Tech Computer. Yes, visual voice mail is stylish. But a phone is a phone, folks.
The iPhone is supposed to be more. It's supposed to be a platform, as famed venture capitalist John Doerr dubbed it when creating the $100 million iFund for Kleiner Perkins Caulfield and Byers. The App Store makes his platform argument real.
Well, that and similar investments by Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM ) and Nokia (NYSE: NOK ) . IBM (NYSE: IBM ) , too. Last week, the company announced [email protected], a corporate initiative that will tap Big Blue's software and services expertise to transform phones into computing platforms. Google (Nasdaq: GOOG ) , meanwhile, has Android.
It seems that suddenly, the entire tech world sees smartphones as platforms. But so far, only Apple has the lion's share of developers. So far, their work has produced $30 million in revenue. Well done, sirs.
Keep them happy, Apple. The App Store has the potential to create a rich, iPhone-selling array of services. Neither draconian contracts nor technical issues -- too much of which we've already seen -- should be allowed to stunt its development.
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