These days there are no shortage of App Stores. iTunes, Android, Blackberry, Palm, OneForty, Boxee and there are many more still and many more coming.
My favorite app store model is the open one like Android and Boxee. You can install an app from their app store or from the open web.
Having said that, the app store model provides important value. For the users, the app store provides aggregation, search and reviews. For developers, the app store provides distribution and economics.
The key requirement for a successful app store is a vibrant developer community.
The best thing about Facebook’s platform for third party apps is that they are great for users and developers can make a real business from the platform. Good for users + economics for developers is great for Facebook.
I was in a cab with Fred and Andrew last week. We were talking about how some apps can generate huge velocity on Facebook. Fred mentioned the three things on Facebook, newsfeed, requests and inbox tied with the social graph, are the keys to that distribution network.
That is absolutely correct and other App Stores can learn a lot from this.
Imagine if you checked into iTunes and saw a your friends or folks you follow in a newsfeed or timeline:
Mo Koyfman just downloaded Tweetie2
Brad Feld just purchased MLB.com
Lauren Sabet likes Word Wrap
And with a single click you could install or buy that app.
It’s a simple example but those viral functions don’t really exist on any other app store that I’ve seen. But I suspect they will shortly.