Apple issued a statement Thursday morning confirming that its desktop bazaar for Mac software goes live on Thursday, January 6 – exactly three weeks from today. The company’s chief Steve Jobs was quoted in the statement saying the Mac App Store should do for the world of desktop software distribution what the App Store did for iOS apps:

The App Store revolutionized mobile apps. We hope to do the same for PC apps with the Mac App Store by making finding and buying PC apps easy and fun. We can’t wait to get started on January 6.

The Mac App Store will roll out simultaneously into 90 countries and will offer both paid and free apps across several categories, including Education, Games, Graphics & Design, Lifestyle, Productivity, and Utilities. We previously learned that unlike its mobile counterpart, the Mac App Store won’t host demo or trial apps that can be later upgraded to paid versions.

Although the Mac App Store won’t be the only venue for software distribution on the Mac platform (developers are free to host, promote, and distribute apps through their websites), Apple hopes it’ll be the best. The Cupertino firm will take care of hosting, marketing, and micropayment fees and developers will enjoy the same 70:30 revenue split, as on the App Store. Also worth noting, developers pick the price, they receive payments monthly, and aren’t charged for free apps. 

Benefits for users include easier software discovery with a new storefront application, to be made available soon as a software update for Mac OS X Snow Leopard systems. Storefront will let you browse new and noteworthy apps, find out what’s hot, view staff favorites, search categories, and read customer ratings and reviews, Apple said.

Other perks include one-click install and easy updating, like on the App Store, and broad usage rights allowing you to install a purchased application on all your Macs without having to buy additional licenses. For example, an app purchased once would run on your work and home machine in addition to a family notebook, provided every computer is authorized with the same iTunes Store account.

Source: Apple