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What's wrong with buying apps for 99 cents?


Dan Moren over at Macworld has picked up the App Store pricing gauntlet yet again. He somehow equates the iPhone's price dropping to $199 as a symbol that cheap people are shopping the App Store -- as if anyone who's interested in spending $199 on a phone can be called cheap. But he's starting from the right place: from AppCubby's donationware scheme (they sell apps for 99 cents and ask people to donate more on their site) to the Sound Grenade developer (he made a self-described "terrible" app in 20 minutes and threw it up on the App Store -- only to get hundreds of thousands of downloads), something is very weird in the world of apps for the iPhone and iPod touch.

Moren's final point seems to be that an excess of 99 cent apps is pushing the really talented developers out of business (because they can't make back what they put into the software by selling it for 99 cents), but there's still something wrong there. If someone can sell 100,000 copies of an app for a buck apiece (walking away with $70,000 after Apple's cut), why are the talented developers leaving? Surely you can make a quality app for less than $70,000, right?

We're obviously still closer to the beginning of how the App Store will eventually shape up rather than the end. It sure seems like developers who create worthwhile apps would find a way to pay for them, but if they can't, then yes, it might be worth another look at the pricing setup from Apple end.

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