Apple to Eliminate Retail Box Software Inventory

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Photo by QiFei

With the success of the iTunes App Store and the launch of the Mac App Store, it seems clear that the long term future of software sales is going to be digital distribution. Based on what we've heard from our sources, however, Apple is planning on making the move to all digital sooner than expected at their retail stores. Apple is working towards eliminating boxed software and presumably focusing sales through the Mac App Store.

Apple's recent plans to start offering Personal Setup for Mac seems to be in line with that goal.

When you purchase a Mac at an Apple Retail store an employee will help you setup your e-mail accounts, walk you through the Mac App Store, setup an iTunes account for you, and show you the basic pointers of owning a Mac. Some stores will even have dedicated Mac setup stations.

New Mac customers will be walked through how to use their Mac and also how to obtain new software through the Mac App store.

Boxed software also takes up retail space that could be used for higher profit items such as iPad or iPhone accessories. It's not clear how Apple will deal with prominent titles such as Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop which aren't yet available through the Mac App Store.

While the Mac App Store has been launched for Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, it is also one of the key new components in Mac OS X Lion due out this summer. We expect to hear more about Lion during this year's Worldwide Developer's Conference.

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