Apple might not use the AppStore.com domain for the iOS App Store but how it got access to it surely makes for a fascinating story. The domain was actually gifted by Marc Benioff, co-founder and co-CEO of Salesforce, to Steve Jobs.
As revealed by Marc Benioff in his book ‘Trailblazer,’ the Salesforce team came up with the idea of launching an App Store for its SaaS service after a meeting with Jobs.
In 2003, Benioff along with Salesforce co-founders Harris and Dave Mollenhoff went to meet Steve Jobs in Cupertino. In that meeting, Jobs told them that for Salesforce to grow further, they needed to work on a cloud ecosystem. When Benioff further asked Jobs about it, the Apple co-founder told that it was up to them on how they executed the idea.
A few years later, Benioff got the idea of building an app store that would allow developers to create and upload their apps for the Salesforce platform.
One evening over dinner in San Francisco, I was struck by an irresistibly simple idea. What if any developer from anywhere in the world could create their own applications for the Salesforce platform? And what if we offered to store these apps in an online directory that allowed any Salesforce user to download them?
Salesforce app store is called AppExchange, but back then Benioff liked the name AppStore. He even got the AppStore.com domain registered by his lawyers the very next day.
In 2006 when Salesforce was about to launch the online store, Benioff talked to customers about it. While they all liked the concept, they did not like the AppStore name very much. This eventually led Salesforce to go with the AppExchange name.
A couple of years later in 2008, Steve Jobs invited Benioff to Cupertino for the iPhone announcement and the App Store.
As Benioff wrote, “At the climactic moment, [Jobs] said [five] words that nearly floored me: ‘I give you App Store.”
Benioff was surprised at Apple going with the App Store name which Salesforce had pondered upon and rejected for Salesforce. After the keynote, Benioff went backstage to meet Steve Jobs and handed over the AppStore.com domain to him.
While this definitely makes for a fascinating story, it is also important to note that a web store never really fit in Apple’s plans and vision. Even today, more than a decade after the App Store was first launched, Apple does not offer a method for users to sideload apps from the web. As for the AppStore.com domain, Apple uses it to this day but points it to the iTunes Store instead of the iOS App Store.