As our Maggie Savarino has reported, Seattle tech startup UrbanSpoon scored such a hit with its iPhone app that it sold last month to IAC/InterActiveCorp. That company is madly acquiring other small app makers who score on the ubiquitous handheld platform. In a New York Times story, UrbanSpoon is reported to be "one of the App Store's most popular products, having been downloaded close to five million times."
But there's another local connection to this Seattle success story. IAC is a partnership between media mogul Barry Diller and Amazon.com. By trolling the app market, IAC is betting on the so-called "long tail" model of doing lots of little sales over a long period of time, rather than depending on one big blockbuster of a game or movie (which take much longer and much more money to develop). Thus, IAC assembles a portfolio of apps with a potential cross-selling link to Amazon. As the NYT says, "Amazon, with its Kindle electronic book reader, looked at phone apps as a way to expand the market for the e-books it sells." Amazon's purchase of e-reader Stanza is another example of this trend. So Seattle programmers who write an iPhone hit can look forward to a possible call from Jeff Bezos.