Enterprise App Stores to Make a Comeback?

In what is surely an effort to increase mobile presence, Facebook announced plans to introduce an online app store earlier this month. Like Apple and Google’s markets, Facebook’s hub will allow users to download both free and paid software applications.

“The App Center is designed to grow mobile apps that use Facebook – whether they’re on [Apple's] iOS, [Google's] Android or the mobile web,” wrote Facebook’s Aaron Brady on the company’s blog announcement. “From the mobile App Center, users can browse apps that are compatible with their device, and if a mobile app requires installation, they will be sent to download the app from the App Store or Google Play.”

For Facebook, this pending super-index of apps could mean an uptick after what many would call a troublesome IPO. For the businesses, it could mean the resurgence of a stifled trend.

Business Apps Revisited?

As we all know, trends have a knack for trickling down from consumer to business technology, and our love for apps is no exception. In the last handful of years large enterprise companies including Salesforce.com and Jive have borrowed from Apple’s original model, offering their users a way to upgrade the experience with helpful extensions.

The marketplaces got so much buzz that for a little while it seemed like they were poised to be the biggest thing in both the business world and the consumer world. And then…they weren’t.

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In the end Enterprise app stores saw relatively little uptake. While several analysts claimed the reason was because businesses simply weren’t ready for cloud-based collaboration, others guessed the problem was that they’d missed the right combination of features, target audience, and inventory.

As we mentioned earlier this week, Facebook’s IPO will certainly serve to further increase business-level interest in the institution of connection. Will the opening of their app store inspire businesses to get back on this train too? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

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