New York Times Looks at the iPhone Gold Rush

It must be iPhone weekend at the New York Times. An article titled “The iPhone Gold Rush” highlights several small iPhone developers who struck it rich in the App Store. Profiled are Ethan Nicholas (iShoot, $800,000 in 5 months), Kostas Eleftheriou (iSteam, $100,000 in 3 months), and Steve Demeter (Trism, $250,000 in two months).

In the article, the iFund’s Matt Murphy is quick to point out that these are still the early days of mobile development.

The rush to stake a claim on the iPhone is a lot like what happened in Silicon Valley in the early dot-com era, said Matt Murphy, a partner at the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers who oversees the iFund, a $100 million investment pot reserved for iPhone applications.

“People are realizing that by developing in their garage with a couple dollars, they could be the next Facebook,” he said. “It’s still early days for mobile development, but those days are coming.”

If we really want to use the “gold rush” metaphor, in California’s 1849 gold rush, some early miners struck it rich from gold easily panned from the surface of streambeds. As more people arrived, finding gold became tougher, and businesses with heavy financial backing arrived on scene. These were the companies that dug deeper and pulled out the majority of California’s gold.

Is the gold rush for the small guy over with? Has all the “easy gold” been panned? Probably not, as a quick look at the App Store’s Top 10 list shows that consumers still love 99-cent apps from independent developers.


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