Apple announced on Monday that the company's popular Mac OS X Downloads site will no longer feature apps.
In an e-mail message to registered developers, the company stated that as of January 6, 2011—the date the Mac App Store will debut—the Mac OS X Downloads site will "no longer offer apps." The company suggests that developers should instead submit their software to the Mac App Store, which Apple says will be "the best destination for users to discover, purchase, and download your apps."
The site has long been a popular destination for Mac users looking for third-party software, as it has provided a semi-curated library of software, browsable by category, date, popularity, or the ever-coveted-by-developers Staff Picks.
The announcement shouldn't come as a surprise, given Apple's recent focus on the Mac App Store. Indeed, it would be quite un-Apple-like for the company to offer both a software store and a software-listing Website. However, the move is sure to raise some hackles in the developer community, given that not every piece of software listed on the Downloads site will be available—or even could be available—on the Mac App Store. The Mac App Store already presented a marketing challenge for developers of such software; they'll now be even more reliant on the Mac media, word of mouth, and other Mac-software sites such as MacUpdate and i use this.
It's unclear if Apple will continue to use the Mac OS X Downloads site to promote its own Mac software, or if the company will just roll such promotion into the main Downloads site.
The full text of the e-mail message is below.
Thank you for making the Mac OS X Download site a great destination with apps that offer users new ways to work, play, learn, and create on their Mac.
We recently announced that on January 6, 2011, the Mac App Store will open to users around the world, presenting you with an exciting, new opportunity to reach millions of customers. Since the introduction of the App Store in 2008, we've been thrilled with the incredible support from developers and the enthusiastic response from users. Now we're bringing the revolutionary experience of the App Store to Mac OS X.
Because we believe the Mac App Store will be the best destination for users to discover, purchase, and download your apps, we will no longer offer apps on the Mac OS X Downloads site. Instead, beginning January 6, we will be directing users to explore the range of apps available on the Mac App Store.
We appreciate your support of the Mac platform and hope you'll take advantage of this new opportunity to showcase your apps to even more users. To learn how you can offer your apps on the Mac App Store, visit the Apple Developer website at http://developer.apple.com/programs/mac/.
Vice President, Worldwide Developer Relations