Going not-indie: Lower revenue, less value, and the lure of big software
The App Store is a hard business and getting harder. Unlike almost any other aspect of Apple's business, "premium" isn't stressed. Prices have raced to the bottom, discovery is a perpetual challenge, and casino games are thriving, not beautiful, magnificent, audacious new software ideas. What affect is that having on indie software developers? Screens VNC developer Luc Vandal writes:
I believe that we will see a consolidation of the market at some point. This reminds me of the early 1990s, where any kid with a few thousands of dollars could start his own snowboard company. Eventually, the market got saturated and many of those companies disappeared, got acquired or merged together in order to gather forces, improve their products and be more competitive. This is the normal process for any mature market.
Another trend we should see in the future is more collaboration and joint ventures amongst indie developers. By doing so, you get to work as a team, share the work load, bear the risks together and create better apps. I feel this approach would be very interesting because it would bring the best of both worlds: the freedom and perks of the indie life with the pleasure and experience of working with a team on projects you could not achieve on our own.
Of the two, this is the most interesting solution to me.
That's an incredibly optimistic, forward thinking take by Vandal, and one I also very much hope gets embraced.
Vandal wrote his piece after hearing the news that Kevin Hoctor was going to Apple to work on Mail and Notes (congrats again, Kevin!). Hoctor, the indie developer behind MoneyWell, is only the most recent of many indie developers doing exactly the same thing.
On one hand it's great all these super-talented developers are going to work on the OS, frameworks, and first-party apps we all depend on every day. On the other, it's sad that talent isn't able to better earn a living dreaming up the next great app on their own.
Again, in a perfect world, Apple, Google, and other platform vendors would compete on who had the best apps, the most high-quality and valuable apps, and the make sure the economy promoted ambition and fair pricing. Hopefully we'll get there, and going to big software houses will be a career choice, not an economic one.