It's been a year and a half since Rock Your Phone first made live their Rock.app store for 3rd party iPhone apps. Over the past few months, the folks who own both stores (Jay Freeman and Mario Ciabarra) have been working through a huge deal, which has come to public fruition tonight - Cydia is acquiring Rock. Well, technically, SaurikIT, LLC is acquiring Rock Your Phone, Inc (let's use correct business names here).
Details of the acquisition have not been made public, but here's what it means to you: Rock.app will essentially dwindle away. There will be a transitional period for the next 10 days where users can purchase/download apps and licenses in Rock. After that, users will use their Cydia Store login to retrieve their purchased apps. The large majority of themes/apps from Rock will be moved over to Cydia (most are already there right now). Rock will have a notice on it's first page, and APT updates will discontinue in the near future (so Rock would be useless even if you had it). I chatted with Mario Ciabarra (CEO and founder of Rock Your Phone) and he had this to say about the acquisition:
It's been a fun ride. We set out to change the landscape and I think we were very successful. I think we contributed to attracting more business professionals to the iPhone jailbreak community, and added some great functionality to the platform. The current transaction with Cydia is a great opportunity for us. We're going to miss some of the excitement, but no reason for anyone to worry. I, personally, will be spending even more time in Intelliborn apps development (both existing and exciting new projects). A few months ago, Jay and I sat down together and we realized, I enjoyed making apps more (and was better at it), while Jay enjoys providing platform functionality. It was a win-win for both groups and we're excited about the transition.
There's been a fierce undercurrent in many communities this past 18 months of "loyalty" to one of the two major jailbreak AppStores, with conversations in high gear lauding one or the other, bringing up this point or that point, etc. Many had both installed, and everyone had a preference. One thing can be said - it was a good run. You can't argue that Cydia isn't a more technically thorough solution, but the user experience of Rock.app was preferred by many. And the numbers are impressive - check these out from the Rock Your Phone news post about the acquisition:
- Number of Developers with apps listed in the Rock Store: 124 (from 19 countries)
- Unique iOS devices that installed Rock: 4.6 million (from 220 countries/territories) - Wow that is a lot of places!
- Registered Rock Users: 2+ million
- Number of App licenses sold: 500,000
- Users of who took the plunge and bought something: 280,000 (from 185 countries)
- Total Rock Your Phone Store revenue (March 12th, 2009 - September 2010): $3.3+ million
- Number of Rock Employees (we are using the word employee loosely here but, hey, it is our company): 9
After jailbreaking was officially declared legal in late July, there's been an even larger focus on the jailbreak community, or 3rd party iPhone developers. This acquisition makes Cydia and Cydia Store the clear leader in iPhone 3rd party package management. Exciting times ahead...