Intel has announced that its AppUp marketplace for Windows apps will close next month and is offering refunds for some paid apps. How will this closure impact developers?
Intel's AppUp store was originally known at the Atom Developer program and had been in beta for some months before we first reported on it in September 2010. Set up to market apps to netbook users, AppUp was bundled with hardware, including some Lenovo Thinkpads.
Despite incentives to developers AppUp has hardly been a game changer. Its own boss at the time, Peter Biddle, described it in 2011 as
"the world's largest app store that nobody's ever heard of."
Intel decided to pull the plug on it a couple of months ago. News of this closure has now been made public.
From March 14, 2014 no new apps or content will be available for download. Email customer support will be cease on June 15, 2014.
The FAQ page about the closure states that most existing applications should continue to work as normal when launched from a desktop icon or through the program menu rather than from the AppUp storefront. However applications that require communication with the AppUp client and may not work after May 15, 2015. A list of such applications is provided.
Intel is offering a refund for all applications that users have paid for with the refund process being available from January 28 - December 19, 2014, which is before the listed apps cease working.
How much Intel will have to refund depends on end users noticing that AppUp is closing. The FAQ's state:
If your app requires a product key/serial number please make sure to save a copy as we won’t be able to resend it after the store closes. If you need us to resend you your product key/serial number please contact Intel Customer Service prior to March 11, 2014.
While there are FAQ's for users there don't seem to be any for devs, 20,000 of whom had filed tax documentation to participate in AppUp by mid 2011. There seems to have been little reaction for the community. There's a complaint from one dev about not being notified in advance of the closure. Another dev comments that the perk of having been given a netbook for being an early participant in the scheme far outstripped the revenue he had made from apps in the store.
So with Intel picking up the tab for the failure, it seems that AppUp will have as little impact in its demise as it did during its four years of existence.
Intel is a surprising big player in the software world and yet it hardly seems to make an impression on the mindset of most programmers.
How such a leviathan can consistently punch below its weight is a mystery, but it should be a mystery of some concern to Intel. With the weakening of the Wintel axis and the growth of non-Intel platforms, aka most mobile phones, it needs to exert some of the influence it has always relied on Microsoft to wield.