Note: The current storyline will continue – I’m just on a slight detour today.
The comic above was inspired by the recent hub bub surrounding TapBots’ Tweetbot app ($20 for a full-featured, third-party Twitter client).
$20 for a Twitter app? Really?
I admit that I, too, was somewhat shocked at the price.
But after some careful deliberation, I’ve come to the conclusion that the real problem isn’t with Tweetbot’s pricing — it’s the App Store and the overarching mentality governing how much software should cost.
The App Store pricing has spoiled us rotten with many of its apps available for free or for under $5. And customers are now conditioned to this price point. But is the App Store pricing structure really fair for top-shelf software that took upwards of a few months to a year to develop?
When we pay for software, we are casting a vote of support to the developer. Developers can charge whatever they feel their software is worth – it’s up to the customer to determine if the value is worth the developer’s asking price. In my opinion, Tweetbot is.
Now, Tweetbot is not for everyone. Casual Twitter users can use the web interface, TweetDeck, or even the official Twitter app. All are free. But Tweetbot offers much, much more (in terms of both design and implementation) that no other Twitter app has – and I think their asking price of $20 is a fair one.
I use Twitter every single day. I get a lot of value with the exchanges and interactions I make on that service. For me, an app like Tweetbot is easily justifiable, because I’m getting the value I want out of the program.
But going back to my thesis: $5 and free apps are really hurting software more than helping it. My concern is that developers will altogether abandon more loftier development projects because of the low return on their investment.
I’m curious to know your thoughts on this subject. Do you think App Store pricing is hurting the overall software development market? Share your reaction in the comments below.