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Apple's Jobs Gushes Over App Store Success

Apple CEO Steve Jobs says the sky's the limit when it comes to the possible growth of Apple's month-old App Store. Could it eventually become a billion dollar business for Apple?

in an interview that appeared Monday

With a current annual run rate of around $360 million, it's not out of the question that App Store could eventually become a billion dollar business for Apple, according to Jobs.

"This thing's going to crest a half a billion, soon," Jobs told the Wall Street Journal. "Who knows, maybe it will be a $1 billion marketplace at some point in time."

The iPhone has spawned a developer community and ecosystem of its own, something that is arguably unprecedented in the mobile world, said Michael Oh, president of Boston-based Apple reseller Tech Superpowers, who expects the App Store to continue growing steadily.

Starting with XCode 3.1, the fundamental building blocks of the iPhone are the same as for Mac OS apps, and that could create some useful synergies, Oh says. "In this ecosystem, having Mac OS developers that are savvy in XCode being able to develop apps for the iPhone could create a nice symbiosis," said Oh.

But some Apple partners believe that once the novelty of the App Store wears off, interest from iPhone users could dwindle.

"I don't think Apple can maintain this rate. This is the bubble associated with the release of the new iPhone," said John Eaton, president of San Francisco-based solution provider Eaton and Associates. "Once iPhones have been in people's hands for a while, they won't be downloading so many apps."

However, even if App Store doesn't maintain daily sales of $1 million, Eaton expects the iPhone's popularity to continue climbing. "It really is a superior device to what else is out there," he said.

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