iPhone Dev Watch: Apple Short-Changing Developers or Filtering Cr@pware?

iPhone Dev Program Broken?

It's not an unfamiliar story in web-commerce. Have an Amazon Associate account, a Google Adsense account, or other types of referral or revenue-sharing arrangements with the Big Boys, and if you want a check (or sometimes even a direct deposit), you have to wait until you have a minimum amount of money built up (often around $100). Why? To minimize the overhead for processing and cutting checks, and the banking fees involved.

Now TUAW reports that Apple is RUMORED to be setting their minimum transaction fee to $250. Since developers get 70% of the sale price, this means they have to sell $375.14 worth of their App before Apple sends them their $250 cut. That's 376 $1 Apps, 38 $10 Apps, 4 $100 Apps, etc.

TUAW thinks, while this is good for Apple, it's bad from the indie developers' point of view, and will make the barrier of entry too high for some.

I'm not so sure. Any developer expecting to earn decent money off the App Store will either be pricing themselves high enough to do so at lower volumes, or going for high enough volume of sales at a lower price that, either way, they'll be blowing past the minimum.

If a developer isn't doing it for money, well then they'll be giving it away for free or won't really care if it takes them longer to get to the minimum processing level.

One of the worst things, not just from Apple but from a consumer's point of view, is for the App Store to get flooded with a bunch of cr@pware that makes sorting a pain and buying a chore. This raises the bar just enough to make sure there's a certain level of seriousness in both development AND business plans.

(Freeware cr@pware may likely be avoided by restricting access to the App Store entirely...)


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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

iPhone Dev Watch: Apple Short-Changing Developers or Filtering Cr@pware?


I've surmised that the app store is all part of a brilliantly devised plan... Once we start playing Super Monkey Ball and Band, no one will even care about cut and paste and MMS and tactile keyboards. OOoooo, cunning devils.

I think I need to read up on Spore so I can understand what the hoopla is all about.

I would like to point out that Handango.com, pretty much the biggest mobile software distributor for Windows Mobile software (and PalmOS and Blackberry and Symbian too, but I don't know how 'big' in terms of those), has a similar minimum royalty payment.
So, "WAH CRY THE APPLE STORE IS SO UNFAIR!!"... Handango is equally 'unfair', and they take even MORE of your money when you sell through them than Apple does!