Salesforce Chief Gifted Steve Jobs “App Store” Trademark

During an interview with Bloomberg this week, Salesforce chief executive Marc Benioff revealed that on multiple occasions he asked Steve Jobs for professional guidance, specifically recounting a particular event from 2003 when he took members of his executive team to see Apple’s leader. During the meeting, the feedback Benioff received motivated him to focus on building an ecosystem for Salesforce’s “fantastic enterprise application,” which is how Steve Jobs described it.

In fact, the “ecosystem” became an app store itself known as the Salesforce App Exchange. However, beforehand the creators had originally registered the “App Store” URL and trademarked the phrase, but later on decided to call the product App Exchange instead.

During the 2008 keynote when Jobs introduced the App Store, Benioff was in the audience. At the end of the keynote, he walked up to Jobs and told him: I’m gonna [sic] give you the trademark and the URL because of the help you gave me in 2003″ as a token of appreciation. In addition, Benioff also said that Steve Jobs has given him more advice than just about anybody.

He has probably given me more help and more advice than just about anybody,”

“And when I get in trouble and I kinda [sic] get lost in my own vision, I’ve been fortunate to be able to go and see him and he’s been willing to show me the future a couple times.

When asked about Apple’s future without Steve Jobs, he said he believes the company can stay on top    for quite some timeeven after losing the best CEO in the world,which is what Benioff considers Jobs to be.


Apple Phasing Out Developer Access to UDIDs in iOS 5

iOS 5 Icon

Yesterday, Apple released  the sixth beta of iOS 5 to developers, and a significant change was introduced within the update. TechCrunch  has discovered  that Apple is phasing out the ability for developers to access a device’s  Unique Device Identifier (UDID)in iOS 5. Instead, Apple is asking developers to create  unique identifiers specific to their apps in order to tie installations to specific users.

This is a big deal, especially for any mobile ad networks, game networks or any app which relies on the UDID to identify users. Many apps and mobile ad networks, for instance, uses the UDID or a hashed version to keep track of who their users are and what actions they have taken. App publishers are now supposed to crete their own unique identifiers to keep track of users going forward, which means they may have to throw all of their historical user data out the window and start from scratch.

Apple’s decision to remove developer access to UDIDs is a big deal, especially for mobile ad networks, game networks, or any app that relies on the UDID to identify users. UDIDs would allow developers to keep track of who their users are and what actions they take, but the developers will no longer have this option in iOS 5. The company wants app publishers to create their own unique identifiers to keep track of users, which may cause developers to discard their historical data and cause them to start from scratch.

In the past, Apple has been sued over their method of handling UDIDs. Even though UDIDs can’t be directly linked to specific users, information tied to a device can be passed along to advertisers to help them in targeting their advertisements. This practice may have caused privacy concerns from people concerned about privacy.

Apple’s decision seems to address those privacy concerns.

Apple, Starbucks Team Up To Give Away Free iPhone Apps

Since April 2008, Starbucks has partnered with Apple for the “Pick of the Week” program. The “Pick of the Week” program provides users with iTunes Music Store content via cards. Previously, the promotion only allowed  customers access to a free song each week, with tracks priced up to $1.29. Now, CNET reports that these cards are now also offering free downloads of paid iOS applications.

Shazam Encore, the first Starbucks Pick of the Week App

The first application made available for free is Shazam Encore, which usually sells for $5.99 in the App Store. Starbucks has not commented on whether the free applications offer will replace music tracks for good, or if both will be offered in the future. Judging by the first free app offering, it seems they’re serious about providing quality apps because Shazam Encore is a very popular music app costing $5.99.

Customers who visit Starbucks can pick up the free “Pick of the Week” cards at the register that contain codes  redeemable in the App Store towards the purchase of iOS apps.  Last year, Starbucks also did something similar by partnering with Apple and Yahoo to offer digital content to in-store customers.

Android owners, are you jealous yet? Anyways, Apple’s evil.

[image credit: CNET]

Nokia Ovi Store Now Has 50,000 Apps

Ovi StoreNokia, which recently posted very disappointing quarterly results, finally has some good news. The Ovi Store, Nokia’s application store, just hit a major milestone – it now has more than 50,000 apps.

MobileBusinessBriefing reports that there are now more than 50,000 apps available in the Ovi Store. Nearly 6.5 million apps are now downloaded from the Ovi store every day.

While the numbers are very encouraging, they are still much lower than the Apple App Store and the Android Market. The App Store has over 425,000 apps, and the Android Market has more than 250,000 apps. The Windows Phone 7 Marketplace currently offers close to 27,000 apps.

Both Apple and Android have overtaken Nokia in terms of smartphone sales, but Nokia still has a very large installed user base around the world, around 225 million users. It recently released devices powered by the new Symbian Anna OS, but will be shifting its focus to a new platform – Windows Phone 7 – soon.

Nokia will also be launching the Nokia N9, a MeeGo based device soon. It also restated its vision for QT based apps, which will run on both platforms – Symbian and MeeGo. Unfortunately, QT based apps wouldn’t run on Windows Phone 7 devices, which means developers will have to choose between the two options.

Facebook’s iPad App Leaked

Facebook for iPad

Holy smokes! It is about time more info regarding the Facebook for iPad app leaked. Today, TechCrunch has discovered Facebook’s iPad native app within the Facebook for iPhone app. In addition, TechCrunch has posted an extensive gallery of the leaked iPad app. Apparently, the latest update to the Facebook for iPhone app not only included bug fixes, but also included the code for the iPad app.

 @AeroEchelon first discovered that by changing the changing the UIDeviceFamilyfrom 1 to 2 in the  info.plist  of the iPhone app will enable you to use the Facebook for iPad app. He then posted the first screenshots of the app to Twitter. I think this suggests that the app will be universal.

TechCrunch’s MG Siegler has confirmed the app is real and found the app to be quite good even though its a non-public release version.  Siegler also noticed that much of the code is written in HTML5 and feels like a native app.

The app also makes great use of the pop-overs (overlay menus) found in other iPad apps. When you flip the iPad horizontally, the list of your online friends appears and you can chat with them as you do other things on Facebook. The photo-viewer aspect looks great — similar to the iPad’s own native Photos app. Places exists with a nice big map to show you all your friends around you. Etc.

Rumors have suggested that Facebook will be launching their iPad app shortly. Even though there’s been a huge demand for such an app, the company has not released an iPad version of their app.

Apple Introduces Volume App Purchasing for Business

Apple Volume Program for Business

Apple has introduced a new “Volume Purchasing Program”  for the App Store. The App Store  Volume Purchase Program allows businesses and educational institutions in the U.S. to purchase apps in volume and distribute them within their organizations.

Streamline your purchasing process and put more power and productivity in the hands of your workforce. Every paid app in the App Store is available for businesses to buy in volume through the program website. Simply search for the apps you need, enter the quantity you want to buy, and complete the transaction with your corporate credit card. Apps are available for purchase at the same price listed in the App Store.

In the past, Apple has offered volume sales but only for educational institutions. For businesses and educational institutions to be eligible to use this program, they must apply.  In addition, Apple is allows businesses to sell and distribute custom business-to-business (B2B) apps for business customers. B2B apps can be developed for specific needs and distributed through the same App Store.

You can read more about Apple’s program here.

Whether you’re providing apps to two employees or ten thousand, the Volume Purchase Program makes it simple to find, buy, and distribute the apps your business needs.

The Volume Purchase Program also provides a way to purchase custom B2B apps built by third-party developers to meet the unique needs of your business.

The Volume Purchase Program for Business is coming soon to businesses in the United States.

Apple App Store Now Boasts of 425,000 Apps and Over 15 Billion Downloads

Apple App StoreApple officially announced some statistics about the App Store today. In a press release, it revealed that over 15 billion apps and games have been downloaded from the App Store. The App Store now houses over 425,000 apps, the largest collection of apps in the world, on any platform.

Even the iPad has been a huge hit with developers, with over 100,000 native iPad apps now available. Other tablet platforms like Android, Blackberry QNX and webOS only have a couple hundred apps each.

“In just three years, the revolutionary App Store has grown to become the most exciting and successful software marketplace the world has ever seen,said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. Thank you to all of our amazing developers who have filled it with over 425,000 of the coolest apps and to our over 200 million iOS users for surpassing 15 billion downloads.”

Apple also announced that it had paid out over $2.5 billion to its developers to date. Since it has a 30% cut, this would mean that apps worth about $3.6 billion have been sold to date.

The App Store has been instrumental in making millionaires out of many developers. Many funds like the iFund have been launched by leading VC firms, in order to capitalize on the popularity of iOS apps.

The App Store has revolutionized the way in which applications are delivered. Almost every major smartphone and tablet platform now comes with an application store. Even the Mac OS now has an App Store, and Windows 8 is rumored to launch with one as well.

Bing Introduces Lasso Feature in iPad app

While one division at Microsoft aspires to rival Apple iPad in more ways than one, another division has always adopted the iOS platform progressively. The pragmatism of Bing team has had them release a slick Bing for iPhone app in the past, and a Bing for iPad app in April 2011 as the first official iPad app from Microsoft. The app has been very well received and in the first three months, it has had more than 5,000 ratings in the App Store and an average score of 4.7 stars (out of five stars).


The Bing for iPad app goes beyond the traditional search experience and offers a unique and visually rich way to search the Web. It allows you to quickly browse news, movies, Bing homepage images, local business listings and much more. The v1.1 of the app introduces a new feature called Lasso. Designed for the touch-friendly iPad, Lasso is a new way to search and copy/paste with the touch of a finger. You can simply press the Lasso icon in the upper right of the app and circle any word or phrase. Lasso will then create a Bing search and return search results based on the word or phrase selected.

Bing for iPad

Lasso moves Bing beyond the search box and streamlines the process of conducting online searches on the touch-screen device. It simplifies the painful process of copying and pasting pieces of text from a webpage while reading something to a search box to search the Web for that text string. Although this feature is only available in Bing for iPad at the moment, the Bing team could take it further to different devices or platforms.

Also, apart from several quality and performance improvements, the latest release also includes an improved movie experience that lets you view multiple showtime days and theatres, and gives you  the ability to swipe through the last six Bing homepage images.

You can view a video showing the Lasso tool in action and download the updated app in the App Store.

App Store For iPad Now 100,000 Apps Strong

100,000 iPad apps

With the introduction of iPad, Apple also introduced an App Store specifically for iPad-specific apps. A little more than one year after, MacStories reports that  the App Store for iPad now offers over 100,000 iPad-specific applications.

Apple and third-party developers have set a new record: in 453 days since the original iPad came out on April 3, 2010, the App Store has more than 100,000 iPad-exclusive apps available. Either specifically targeting the tablet, or released as universal updates to existing iPhone apps, at the moment of writing this there are 100,161 iPad apps in the Store. How do I know? The App Store app itself on my iPad shows that.

In comparison, none of Apple’s competitors offer  more than a couple hundred tablet-optimized apps. For example, the Motorola Xoom  has been on the market for months, but still only offers a few hundred apps. Even a year after iPad’s launch,  Apple still has a tremendous lead in the tablet market and competitors are still having a hard time catching up.

Apple Offering 7-Day Refund Policy On App Store Apps In Taiwan

App Store LogoOver the past few days, reports have suggested that Apple and Google maybe being pressurized by the Taiwanese Government  to modify their app sales policies. This app sale policy would require both companies  to modify their app sales policies to comply with a law requiring a one-week return and refund policy on all purchases. WantChinaTimes was the first to report this story and today more info has become available.

At the request of Taipei City Hall, Apple agreed to let their phone users have a trial period of seven days, within which a user can return the app for a full refund.

Apple hasn’t in the past offered refunds officially, but refunds have been available case by case via iTunes support. Today, The Economic Times of India reports that Apple has agreed to these new rules while Google has been fined $34,600 over its refusal to offer a 7-day refund policy. Also, another report from the Taipei Times uncovers that  Google has withdrawn its paid apps from the marketplace in Taiwan rather than agree to the new conditions.

The reason why Apple agreed to this law is unclear, and there’s no word of  changes in the handling of purchases made through the App Store in Taiwan. In addition, it is unknown if  Apple will be extending the policy to other countries.