The App Store removes a ton of muck. Most importantly (from this survey at least), dealing with credit cards and payments is one of the biggest pains for developers, and the App Store completely shields developers from it.
The iPhone platform succeeds because the App Store “removes the muck.”
Handling payments is one of the gnarlier pieces website infrastructure from a technical perspective, but also from the perspective of conversion: it’s really, really hard to grease the wheels of payment online. How do you accept credit cards? What about gift certificates? What about building trust? What about re-using a customers billing data instead of losing some % of them by asking for it?
The App Store is the ultimate conduit to $$ across tons of interesting demographics. Amazon is right up there with it. Turns out there is another 800lb gorilla gearing to shake things up: Facebook; and Facebook is equipped to do it web-wide.
(PS: Where the f**k are the credit card companies during all this? Why aren’t they playing in this space? Why didn’t they invent PayPal for website payment processing?)