Apple likes to claim that the App Store replaced the system of selling software in physical boxes in stores and over the mail.
But it’s not true.
My experience selling apps before the App Store was not unique or new — it’s only interesting now because people may have forgotten this history, and younger people may never have heard it… More here.
There may be some rose tinted glasses going on here. I believe that Apple did change the way we purchase apps in a good way, but I’m not convinced that the pay off has been worth it. Some of the stuff coming out of the current trial suggests it was more about control rather than consumer ease of use.