Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 21st Oct 2013 22:33 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems

The French Minitel never ceases to amaze me.

In 1984 the government allowed developers to create services for the Minitel. The government took a 30% cut and passed the rest on to developers (sound familiar?) creating the world's first app store. From a user's perspective using apps on the Minitel was frictionless - you were just billed for what you used through your phone bill.

[...]

How big was this app store? In the nineties it was pulling in over a billion USD a year! This is an astronomical sum when you consider France's population size. Though the crossover point is near, the Minitel in its lifetime paid out more to developers than Apple has to iOS developers to date. Companies would advertise their apps in the subway, on highway billboards, and on television.

Amazing. This could very well be the first application store, something many people think is a new phenomenon invented by Apple.

Order by: Score:
Success
by bowkota on Mon 21st Oct 2013 23:17 UTC
bowkota
Member since:
2011-10-12

Apple was definitely not the first company with an App store. I'm sure there were numerous small ones out there in the 90s. Apple's App Store however was the first one to be successful on such a large scale and I think it spurred interest from other companies to do so themselves; everyone wins.

Edited 2013-10-21 23:17 UTC

Reply Score: 0

RE: Success
by WorknMan on Tue 22nd Oct 2013 00:30 UTC in reply to "Success"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

Yeah, everybody is always tripping over themselves, trying to find some company that did something before Apple. Like how the shitty LG Prada came before the iPhone, so obviously Apple deserves none of the credit for re-inventing the smartphone. I guess that's why all of the iPhone's competitors were in a rush to copy the LG Prada ;)

Reply Score: 0

RE[2]: Success
by ferrels on Tue 22nd Oct 2013 00:47 UTC in reply to "RE: Success"
ferrels Member since:
2006-08-15

The only person tripping here is you. Apple hasn't had an original idea since their inception. Even OSX is Darwin/NetBSD with a different gui thrown over the top. Apple is great at marketing and appealing to the herd mentality, but lauding them for copying or re-inventing something, including the smartphone is ridiculous. That's like rewarding an artist for making copies of the Mona Lisa and telling him how great he is for making copies.....get real!

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Success
by WorknMan on Tue 22nd Oct 2013 02:03 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Success"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

LOL, of course Apple re-invented the smartphone. Want proof? Watch the original keynote:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4OEsI0Sc_s

Steve Jobs is having to explain to the audience how the navigation on it worked, because there hadn't been a phone like it before. And pretty much every smartphone to come after it worked the same way.

Am I saying that the iPhone is currently the best smartphone on the market, or that they haven't ripped from other phones since? No. Just that it was a game changer when it came out. iPad was the same way in regard to tablets.

Reply Score: 5

RE[4]: Success
by moondevil on Tue 22nd Oct 2013 06:22 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Success"
moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

You mean like the Nokia 7710, just to cite one example?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nokia_7710

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: Success
by SeeM on Tue 22nd Oct 2013 07:50 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Success"
SeeM Member since:
2011-09-10

You mean like the Nokia 7710, just to cite one example?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nokia_7710


Iphone wasn't first smartphone that worked. It was first smartphone that was simply used by people. I have Palm Centro somewhere in the shelves. Nice Phone, lot of apps, including games, spreadheets, ebook readers, lauchers, etc... And, just like Windows Mobile and Symbian, it felt like the Amiga of smartphones. It worked and it worked well, but required you to know how to handle RAM usage by apps, repair reset loops, clearing sys directories after uninstalling unwanted aplications and synchronize trough some non-intuitive desktop apps (especially on Linux). Remember all kickstart upgrades, huge disk controllers or additional ram on the left side of A500, or constant incompatibilities both in software and hardware? That's somewhat like smartphones before Apple did iphone.

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: Success
by Soulbender on Tue 22nd Oct 2013 08:49 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Success"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Iphone wasn't first smartphone that worked. It was first smartphone that was simply used by people.


Err no. BlackBerry smartphones (such as the Pearl) predates iPhone and was easy enough to use for anyone. Apple's brand-recognition and marketing targeted at Joe User was what brought the iPhone mainstream success.

Reply Score: 3

RE[7]: Success
by SeeM on Tue 22nd Oct 2013 09:35 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Success"
SeeM Member since:
2011-09-10

"Iphone wasn't first smartphone that worked. It was first smartphone that was simply used by people.


Err no. BlackBerry smartphones (such as the Pearl) predates iPhone and was easy enough to use for anyone. Apple's brand-recognition and marketing targeted at Joe User was what brought the iPhone mainstream success.
"

Anyone in UK you mean? Carriers essentially killed BB for me. Well, prizes of software, too.

You're right about marketing, it was one of the reasons for success. Apple did convince Joe: yes, you need smartphone and yes, you can handle it, because it's not a Pocket PC anymore.

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: Success
by WorknMan on Tue 22nd Oct 2013 20:45 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Success"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

Err no. BlackBerry smartphones (such as the Pearl) predates iPhone and was easy enough to use for anyone.


Right, that's why practically all modern smartphones are modeled after Blackberries.

Reply Score: 3

RE[7]: Success
by mkone on Tue 22nd Oct 2013 23:58 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Success"
mkone Member since:
2006-03-14

"Iphone wasn't first smartphone that worked. It was first smartphone that was simply used by people.


Err no. BlackBerry smartphones (such as the Pearl) predates iPhone and was easy enough to use for anyone. Apple's brand-recognition and marketing targeted at Joe User was what brought the iPhone mainstream success.
"

Blackberries were rubbish. I know because up until last week I had one. I got a BB at work just over two years ago. A Blackberry curve 9300 series I think it was - 3G and all.

The browser on it was rubbish, it would run out of memory and crash. The mail client was rubbish. The dialler was rubbish. Everything was rubbish.

Yes, I could use it because I am not stupid. But I hated it, and as soon as I could get rid of it, I did and got an iPhone instead.

Yes, people used Blackberries before iPhone came along, but people left their Blackberries because iPhone (and Android phones) were so much better. It's only this year that Blackberry came out with a decent set of smartphones, 6 whole years after the first iPhone. Such incompetence is almost criminal.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Success
by tylerdurden on Tue 22nd Oct 2013 17:46 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Success"
tylerdurden Member since:
2009-03-17


Steve Jobs is having to explain to the audience how the navigation on it worked, because there hadn't been a phone like it before. And pretty much every smartphone to come after it worked the same way.


Seeing someone willingly using Jobs's reality distortion field, as the basis for an argument, has to be the saddest line of reasoning I have read in this site in a loooong time.

Reply Score: 6

RE[5]: Success
by mkone on Tue 22nd Oct 2013 23:43 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Success"
mkone Member since:
2006-03-14

"
Steve Jobs is having to explain to the audience how the navigation on it worked, because there hadn't been a phone like it before. And pretty much every smartphone to come after it worked the same way.


Seeing someone willingly using Jobs's reality distortion field, as the basis for an argument, has to be the saddest line of reasoning I have read in this site in a loooong time.
"

No, he is saying that at that time, what the iPhone was doing was pretty unique. No other phone had multitouch, and none had a browser anywhere near as good as that on the iPhone. None certainly had a music player as good as the iPhone, or just in general worked nearly as well.

I mean heck, even Bill Gates said about the iPhone when it first came out "Oh my God, Microsoft didn't aim high enough".

It's easy after 6 years to forget that smartphones really looked like Blackberries before the iPhone was released. Or to put it another way, try picturing a smartphone before the iPhone. Your choices were Blackberries, Windows Mobile devices (I had one) and Palms and Symbian devices. Now, try to remember what they all looked like.

So yes, the GP post is right. Interface-wise, all smartphones now are heavily influenced by the original iPhone.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Success
by tylerdurden on Wed 23rd Oct 2013 00:06 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Success"
tylerdurden Member since:
2009-03-17

Oh, I understood the previous poster's point just fine. I think you did not understand mine.

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: Success
by mkone on Wed 23rd Oct 2013 12:26 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Success"
mkone Member since:
2006-03-14

Oh, I understood the previous poster's point just fine. I think you did not understand mine.


I understood your post fine as well. You basically said the original poster was using Steve Jobs RDF as a basis for an argument, ergo you are suggesting that there was nothing in Steve Jobs' original iPhone presentation that was new or unique, and that the poster (and the audience) was essentially wowed by the slickness of the presentation and SJ's force of personality rather than the substance of it. Did I understand fine?

And I call bullshit on that. The iPhone was a game changer. The audience reaction proved it. Go back to that original presentation and watch it now. Then look at your smartphone and see how little has changed since. We are navigating the same way, using the same gestures etc.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Success
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Tue 22nd Oct 2013 15:27 UTC in reply to "RE: Success"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

I think you just highlighted the difference between having an Idea and implementing it successfully. Unfortunately, those that actually implement an idea successfully get mistaken for having actually came up with the idea. This is especially frustrating when they patent the heck out of the the ideas and sue those that also implement the same ideas they didn't devise in the first place.

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: Success
by Alfman on Tue 22nd Oct 2013 16:43 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Success"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

Bill Shooter of Bul,

"Unfortunately, those that actually implement an idea successfully get mistaken for having actually came up with the idea."

"This is especially frustrating when they patent the heck out of the the ideas and sue those that also implement the same ideas they didn't devise in the first place."

Osnews doesn't let me vote, but I think these are the two most insightful comments here.

I worked at company 15 years ago (which become defunct in the dot com bust) who were developing graphical PLC programming software for windows and I was quite surprised when I found a new American Automatrix product (coincidentally located only 30 miles away) doing the same thing over ten years later. And you know what, "my" version was much faster on 32MB Pentium computers than AAM's is today on 4GB Core 2s.

Their software needs work from someone who's good with optimization, I wonder if they'd give me a job?

Edited 2013-10-22 17:00 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Success
by BallmerKnowsBest on Tue 22nd Oct 2013 17:57 UTC in reply to "RE: Success"
BallmerKnowsBest Member since:
2008-06-02

Yeah, everybody is always tripping over themselves, trying to find some company that did something before Apple.


Yeaaaahhhhh, I'm sure that doesn't have anything to do with the fact that Apple fanbois have a borderline obsessive-compulsive need to give Apple credit for every innovation in the history of computing....

Reply Score: 4

RE: Success
by BallmerKnowsBest on Tue 22nd Oct 2013 17:57 UTC in reply to "Success"
BallmerKnowsBest Member since:
2008-06-02

Apple was definitely not the first company with an App store. I'm sure there were numerous small ones out there in the 90s. Apple's App Store however was the first one to be successful on such a large scale and I think it spurred interest from other companies to do so themselves; everyone wins.


Seriously? Did you even bother to read the description? By what sort of insane fanboy logic is "over a billion USD a year" NOT a large-scale success?

Sorry, but the standard iFanboy excuse of "but... but... but Apple was the first to popularize it" doesn't really fly here. Time to get some new talking points, son.

Reply Score: 6

Comment by Maxilys
by Maxilys on Tue 22nd Oct 2013 00:02 UTC
Maxilys
Member since:
2006-02-04

Haaa... It brings back fond memories of insane phone bills and quick... errr... dating. ;)

We could even use it as modem with the crazy speed of 1200 bit/s in download and 75 bit/s in upload. Toward the end (Last century!), I replaced mine with a modem and an emulator. And that was the end. With the modem came the BBS and, a bit later, Internet.

I will just never forget my attacks of panic when I received the bi-monthly bill... and the thrill of the dating sites. ;)

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by Maxilys
by phoudoin on Tue 22nd Oct 2013 08:55 UTC in reply to "Comment by Maxilys"
phoudoin Member since:
2006-06-09

Minitel's internal modem asymetric speed could even be reversed by a command, making it usable to act as the modem of a homebrew BBS.

Old time, old memories.
And..., yep, dating people.
:-)

Reply Score: 4

According to wikipedia...
by leech on Tue 22nd Oct 2013 02:51 UTC
leech
Member since:
2006-01-10

Even Linspire had an 'app store' before Apple;

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/App_stores

And AppWrapper before that, which was even presented to Steve Jobs.

So many systems set up before the iWhatever app store.

Reply Score: 8

RE: According to wikipedia...
by Alfman on Tue 22nd Oct 2013 03:45 UTC in reply to "According to wikipedia..."
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

leech,

"Even Linspire had an 'app store' before Apple;"

I forgot about them. Sadly I think many of those who achieve the first milestones won't even get a footnote in history. Only the big guys are remembered.

Reply Score: 4

Valve
by ano69 on Tue 22nd Oct 2013 07:33 UTC
ano69
Member since:
2006-07-07

For me personally the first meaningful appstore was Valve's Steam. It is still my favorite despite making my living out of Apple's, Google's and Microsoft's.

Reply Score: 3

The PalmOS era...
by nottorp on Tue 22nd Oct 2013 07:43 UTC
nottorp
Member since:
2013-10-22

Anyone with a PalmOS or Windows CE device back then should remember the Handango app store, before either Apple or Nokia had touch screen devices.
Mintel predates both though. It would be fun to find an even older example...

Reply Score: 3

Comment by majipoor
by majipoor on Tue 22nd Oct 2013 08:46 UTC
majipoor
Member since:
2009-01-22

It is a well known fact that Apple didn't invent anything and just stole everything.

It is so factual that I don't understand why it is still necessary to demonstrate it once again, and brilliantly, with this article.

And yes, Apple did stole Mona Li... the LG Prada design: it is a well known FACT that before LG presented the Prada, iPhone prototypes did have keyboard and were copies of Blackberry.

And the iPad was a (bad, because it can't run Office) copy of existing Windows tablets and especially the HP Slate which was presented well before the iPad. The iPad success is only due to the good marketing team at Apple and the iSheep herd.

Any only fanboys can deny such well documented and universally agreed facts.

Did I miss something?

Edited 2013-10-22 08:47 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by majipoor
by Soulbender on Tue 22nd Oct 2013 08:58 UTC in reply to "Comment by majipoor"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Are those like the facts that Samsung and everyone else copies the iPhone design?

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Comment by majipoor
by majipoor on Tue 22nd Oct 2013 09:07 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by majipoor"
majipoor Member since:
2009-01-22

Absolutely not because Samsung has clearly demonstrated again and again that they have a brilliant design team and never have to copy Nokia, RIMM (before Apple presented their Prada rip-off) or... Dyson to produce wonderful products and vacuum cleaners and they once again demonstrate it recently with the brilliantly designed and beautifully useful smart watch they designed all by themselves.

And obviously, nobody copy Apple because Apple did stole everything first.

Reply Score: 0

RE[3]: Comment by majipoor
by BallmerKnowsBest on Tue 22nd Oct 2013 17:58 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by majipoor"
BallmerKnowsBest Member since:
2008-06-02

wrong thread n/m

Edited 2013-10-22 18:00 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by majipoor
by Soulbender on Wed 23rd Oct 2013 05:54 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by majipoor"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Absolutely not


How convenient.

Reply Score: 3

article got it all wrong
by puenktchen on Tue 22nd Oct 2013 09:11 UTC
puenktchen
Member since:
2007-07-27

That wasn't an app store but content the service provider sold. The Minitel was a dumb terminal, it couldn't run any kind of apps. And it wasn't something only the french had either, most western european countries had a similar services which where even interconnected. You could connect to german BTX and check your bank account on Minitel. But the french PTT gave the terminals away for free while you had to buy or rent them elsewhere, which explains the far bigger success of Minitel.

And please, how did the free market win here? The free market alternatives were online services like Compuserve. Minitel had ten times more customers in a far smaller market. And such private online communities
died much faster as the WWW/internet did grow. Which wasn't a free market invention either. The market sucks hard at creating new infrastructures, they are build up by the state or state sponsored monopolies.

And I don't see what this has to do with Apple. Well they had their own fail online service back then, but you aren't talking about that.

Reply Score: 3

RE: article got it all wrong
by puenktchen on Tue 22nd Oct 2013 10:21 UTC in reply to "article got it all wrong"
puenktchen Member since:
2007-07-27

PS: following Thom's link to Wikipedia is sufficient to see that the whole article is utter bullshit.

PPS: Wikipedia points to cellmania.com as maybe the first app store for mobile phone (1999) and I can't find anything predating it on the desktop (CNR from Linspire is from 2002)

Edited 2013-10-22 10:25 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: article got it all wrong
by puenktchen on Tue 22nd Oct 2013 11:45 UTC in reply to "RE: article got it all wrong"
puenktchen Member since:
2007-07-27

PPS: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compunet - buying programs aka apps online since 1984, including digital rights management

Sounds hard to beat - any older app stores?

Reply Score: 3

nobody thinks that they invented an app store
by ezraz on Tue 22nd Oct 2013 10:59 UTC
ezraz
Member since:
2012-06-20

i know some of the biggest apple lovers around and not one thinks that apple invented the app store. even in america cell phones had these sorts of app marketplaces in the 90's.

this one is stretching it a bit to attack apple fans. it's like the claims that apple "invented" round-edged phones. that's a huge bit of straw man.

Reply Score: 3

MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

Yes, you are right.

It's about people making stuff up about what other people believe, say or claim and than prove they are wrong so we can make them ridiculous.

Reply Score: 2

tylerdurden Member since:
2009-03-17


It's about people making stuff up about what other people believe, say or claim and than prove they are wrong so we can make them ridiculous.


Well, thanks for letting us on your devious plans, I guess...

Reply Score: 1

BallmerKnowsBest Member since:
2008-06-02

i know some of the biggest apple lovers around and not one thinks that apple invented the app store. even in america cell phones had these sorts of app marketplaces in the 90's.


Just give them a few years until they think they can get away with it. Fifteen-twenty years ago, even the most die-hard Apple cheerleaders wouldn't have been stupid enough to claim that Apple invented the mouse or the "clamshell" laptop form factor... yet I've seen both claims made, just on OSNews, in recent years.

Reply Score: 4

certainly not first
by koffie on Wed 23rd Oct 2013 01:13 UTC
koffie
Member since:
2010-05-06

Apple certainly was't the first. While I don't agree that they never invent stuff themselves - I won't go into that - in a lot of cases they indeed are not "first". But being first is not important, being the first that does it right in your field is, and that's something Apple is good at. They were the first to do an app store "right" on mobile. Just like Minitel did in France, and Steam does with PC Games. Not surprisingly, also success stories.

And all 3 used the same formula:
For the user:
- Lower the barrier of entrance.
- Make it simple to use.
- Have sensible policies.
For the developer:
- Easy to develop for
- offload payment handling.
- offer some sort of copy protection.
- let developers extend and popularise your platform

Remember, stuff like allowing to re-download at time if you happened to delete something or allowing installation/usage on multiple or newer devices by linking the ownership to an identity was not really common practice before Valve's Steam and Apple's App Store popularised this and made it the de-facto standard. I remember good old windows CE, Symbian or Blackberry software requiring a license key per device you want to install it on...

Reply Score: 2

Comment by ilovebeer
by ilovebeer on Wed 23rd Oct 2013 04:50 UTC
ilovebeer
Member since:
2011-08-08

Debating who created the first "app store"???.. ZZZZzzzzzzzzzz.

Reply Score: 3