If you enter the AppStore.com domain into your browser’s address bar, it’ll likely lead you straight to the iTunes or directly to the Application download store depending on what device you’re using for your access but in case you don’t know the little bit of history right behind the famous AppStore domain, it was initially owned by Salesforce and it’s CEO Marc Benioff before being gifted to Steve Jobs in 2008.
So back in the early days of the iOS and iPhone, there was a need for an application market place where developers and users can easily access apps for their iPhone devices. What happened was that Steve Jobs sort of came up with the need for an App Store whose domain had been earlier registered by Marc Benioff for his company, Salesforce much in the earlier days of the WWW.
In an interview last year around Salesforce’s 20th anniversary, company CTO and co-founder Parker Harris told me that the idea for the app store came out of a meeting with Steve Jobs three years before AppExchange would launch. Benioff, Harris and fellow co-founder Dave Moellenhoff took a trip to Cupertino in 2003 to meet with Jobs. At that meeting, the legendary CEO gave the trio some sage advice: to really grow and develop as a company, Salesforce needed to develop a cloud software ecosystem. While that’s something that’s a given for enterprise SaaS companies today, it was new to Benioff and his team in 2003.
In the book, Benioff explained further how he came about the idea of the URL which would become one of the top place for iOS users to access software for their smartphones today.
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?
After he’d consider his idea to be a good one, Benioff would proceed to register the domain name which SalesForce plans to use later on but then AppExchange.com was created which meant that the appstore.com wasn’t relevant to the Salesforce business but then everything changed when Apple had a need for the latter domain name in 2008 and of course everything went well.
“At the climactic moment, [Jobs] said [five] words that nearly floored me: ‘I give you App Store.”
After the event, Benioff gave the URL to Jobs so it could be used with the new App Store product.
Benioff wrote that he and his executives actually gasped when they heard the name. Somehow, even after all that time had passed since that the original meeting, both companies had settled upon the same name. Except Salesforce had rejected it, leaving an opening for Benioff to give a gift to his mentor. He says that he went backstage after the keynote and signed over the domain to Jobs.
And since then, we’ve all been able to access the AppStore.com domain even though many of us never knew the origin of this domain name anyway.