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Apple App Store… for Windows?

Virtualization is all the rage these days.

On servers in data centers, at home on the consumer level, and even on smartphones, virtualization is here to stay.

Computers have become so powerful, with extra RAM and extra processors, that running a virtual environment is becoming the norm, blurring the boundaries between operating systems and applications.

App stores are also all the rage these days, and like virtualization, are on their way to becoming a permanent part of personal computing.

Virtualization… app stores… virtualization… app stores…

With that in mind, I propose the following: an Apple App Store for Windows.

Virtualization is here.

Android apps are essentially Java apps that run in a Java virtual machine in Android. Many Mac apps within OS X still rely on Rosetta, an optional component of OS X that allows PowerPC apps to run on Intel Macs. Almost every workplace with Macs these days run either Parallels or VMWare on at least one, some, or even all of their Macs when they need to run Windows applications. Linux users run VMWare or VirtualBox for the same reason.

App stores are here.

The idea of a desktop app store has been around for years. Variations have existed in Linux. Late last year, Apple unveiled their desktop app store, and it’s been a hit, bringing the simplification of purchasing and installing apps to a mainstream desktop OS for the first time. It’s elegant and useful.

It’s safe to say that Windows 8 will have to have an app store. It must. Every major smartphone has an app store, and Microsoft’s #1 competitor Apple has their desktop app store. Microsoft will definitely follow suit with their own, and I’m sure it will be a touted feature of Windows 8.

In the meantime, others have (sort of) stepped up. Intel has their AppUp app store for Windows, limited to netbook apps.

But I’d like to propose something bolder: an Apple App Store for Windows.

Using virtualization, Apple could partner with VMWare to create isolated ‘sandboxed’ apps that run on top of Windows. Apple’s OS X can be virtualized, why not OS X apps running in mini virtualized instances within Windows? Computers are more powerful than ever, with new computers shipping with 4GB or even 8GB of RAM standard, plenty of fast storage, and multiple processors with multiple cores.

Mac users run Windows apps all the time on their Macs, why not the other way around?

Apple already has their tentacles deep into Windows with iTunes, Quicktime, and Safari. But 3rd party developers could code their apps once to run in OS X, knowing that they will also be available to Windows users via this hypothetical Apple App Store for Windows and it’s virtualized magic.

The thought of an Apple App Store for Windows is truly tantalizing.

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