First of all I love Steam and it shares a lot of properties with the Mac App Store and also has many unique features as well. But here are some of the qualities of the Mac App Store I believe Microsoft should emulate:
– Having the store pre-installed on every Mac exposes the apps in the store to a much larger potential market.
– When people get used to buying apps this way they might also try a few games they might previously have not.
– Developers have complete control over the pricing of their apps
– There’s a large selection of apps because anyone can pay Apple $99 and become a registered developer – even individuals can publish apps in the Mac App Store.
– Prices feel lower on the app store than when the same developers sold the same software directly or through distributors.
– Users can run their purchased app on any Mac provided they log in with their store credentials.
– Apps updates are handled painlessly through the app store itself.
I buy more apps because it’s very convenient to do so and they’re easier to manage and install. When I upgrade my Macs I know I’ll have access to the apps I want to bring along with me. I can easily update my apps through the app store. Again this is more convenience.
Another thing Windows could address is maintaining and update DirectX and the various shared DLLs that most games use. Right now installs are a mess on Windows because it feels like every app is forcing an install of DirectX, DotNet, etc. This can be simplified and improved.
I’m a big fan of digital distribution. I buy games on Steam, OnLive, Xbox Live Arcade, PSN, Xbox games on demand store, Mac App store, iTunes app store, Android Market and Amazon App Store – I’m sure I’m forgetting others I’ve used as well. Digital distribution of games and apps is going fantastically, which is what I meant when I said “nuts”, and I’m very exited about it.
Hope that helps explain my viewpoint.