iPhone Business Model

BusinessWeek has an article up on Apple and Google considering app-sharing tools and -- hold on, let's deconstruct:

People like apps. "Tell a friend" buttons or, you know, actually physically showing someone a great app is difficult and far too real-world-contract requiring. However, Apple has iPhone 3.0 on the way, and with it -- someone thinks they could enable something that might somehow enable and incentivize app sharing. And Google is considering enabling the same type of "recommendations". Maybe.

Okay. Rewind.

Apps make a lot of money. Apps could make more money if not just the store or developers were selling them, but if users could push them to (at?) each other as well. Sound familiar? To the 5 of you reading who once owned Zunes, it probably does. Welcome to the Social. Just please don't use the term "squirt".

The theory is this. I love me some Peggle. I use a variation on iPhone 3.0's P2P (peer-to-peer) connection technology to "share" Peggle with Leanna and Chris, who will then gobble it up, have tons of fun, and curse me for their loss of sleep time, likely in that order.

It's not a crazy idea, even if Microsoft was already on to it years ago. iPhone 3.0 will already let you invite friends to join in multiplayer games. That could, theoretically, be extended to offer purchases for the game if they don't already have it. Likewise, the BT-range limit could be extended to WiFi network or even cell provider (Oh, hi, AT&T infrastructure!)

To further promote the recommendations/sharing, Apple could -- again theoretically -- offer referral fees if/when the recommended/shared app is eventually converted into a sale. (Of course, the App Store, even under 3.0, doesn't offer demos, so that would likely need to change first).

It's an interesting idea at re-intermediating software sales. Microsoft is already "squirting" among Zune users, which makes sense given their very different, subscription-focused model. But the question is, with Apple being Apple, is it something they would do? Is it something they should?

And don't be squirting no fart apps in our general directions! (Sorry, had to be said!)

[Thanks to the Reptile for the tip!]