How the “now-boring” auction site is trying to become the hub of commerce
Since the launch of the iTunes App Store there has been a rush to emulate the success of Apple by owning an ecosystem which is powered by innovative applications which are in-turn produced by developers you don’t have to pay. Other companies have been successful at this game as well including Google with its Android Marketplace, Salesforce.com who actually preceded Apple with the app store concept. At a speech in New York this past Summer, Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff actually said the creator of the App Exchange name almost chose the word “store” but the person who made the decision was no longer with the company. He inferred not choosing “app store” was a career terminating decision.
But I digress- the point here is the app store concept has been typically thought of as a mobile phenomenon is expanding. In fact recently eBay has made a play to develop an app store powered by its arsenal of companies which come together to help developers gain access to some major league commerce tools.
The new division X.commerce at X.com will give developers access to APIs from eBay’s marketplaces, GSI Commerce, a recently purchased company, PayPal and Magento, another recently purchased e-commerce company of the open-source variety.
Alistair Barr of Reuters has a well-written piece about how this is playing out – explaining that eBay has 725,000 registered developers.
Perhaps most interesting in his article is a quote from Matthew Mengerink, the GM Platform of eBay where he says, "Apple's iOS isn't profitable for most developers [but] on Magento, for every $1 we make, the developer makes $20."
Tomio Geron at Forbes discusses how a startup called Outright, an accounting package leveraging the eBay marketplace is already a top app and going forward using X.com it will become even more powerful and hopefully more popular as the new app store gains popularity. He goes on to explain that X.commerce APIs should allow offline merchants to more easily develop commerce apps which tie into their local store inventory in an effort to capture customers looking for the instant gratification of picking up their purchase immediately.
The trend here is worth noting. eBay has been busy assembling pieces of the commerce puzzle already owning a huge shopping marketplace and PayPal – a leader in online payments. By bringing together other new pieces and opening them up, they hope to become as relevant in commerce as they were when they were a shining all-star of the nineties.
Update: I received this note from the company's public relations firm and it made sense to pass along.
Hope you’re well – I caught your story on X.commerce and am wondering if there’s any way you can throw in a mention of X.commerce’s upcoming developer conference, Innovate 2011. Full details about X.commerce and various announcements will be revealed at the event, which is something I believe your readers will be interested in knowing.