Mac App Store: The Subtle Exodus

  1. 3 years ago

    Bob K

    15 Oct 2014 Pre-Release Testers, Xojo Pro Kansas City

    Interesting article about the Mac App Store. http://blog.helftone.com/mac-app-store-the-subtle-exodus/

    The criticisms are valid and I agree with everything he wrote. The MAS is a great avenue for developers to sell their software but the general pricing structure is too low to live on unless you're selling boatloads of apps. There is no try before you buy option and their is no reasonable way to get upgrade money from existing customers. And then add on top of it all, sandboxing is a major PITA for developers to workaround (if they even can).

    When the MAS first opened I had a lot of clients want to get their apps in it. Not so much anymore because of the hoops you have to jump through.

    What are your thoughts?

  2. scott b

    15 Oct 2014 Pre-Release Testers, Xojo Pro local coffee shop

    MAS is a good place to get advertising for a small developer/company. I agree it has lots of limiters and some of those are useful for end users. Some are a pain for all.

    I have not released any apps in MAS. I have considered releasing some just as a hook to get people to my site. Any app I am serious about or a serious app, I would avoid MAS.

    thanks for bringing that article to my attention.

  3. Amando B

    15 Oct 2014 Pre-Release Testers, Xojo Pro Europe (Spain, Santiago Compos...

    What a very interesting post Bob! In my opinion MAS was good in the first year or so and was a fantastic prototype as a project. But lastly Apple seem to work on prototypes and release them as final software / projects. Siri could be an example, or even iOS as a confortable user experience software to live with. NeXT adoption has been so slow, they had no time to make NeXTSTep 5.0 and port it, 6.0, etc... There are still NextX great frameworks not ported to Cocoa for almost 10 years!

    What I do really I am against is the pricing policy Apple is running their store and how will it influence future Apple software. Companies can't compete with emergent countries with low Salaries ( Odesk ones, etc... you know) and finding a +AA €19,95 program could be something good for the customer, but it's just an illusion. Companies will leave more and more MAS price tag and go back to the real business. We no longer sell boxes, sell binders, just digital software... And that means companies asking + $200 for their software won't survive ... Research, research, develop, Research again & finally innovate and launch to sell.

    MAS is good for niche markets, but those are less common daily and saturation is evil!! Apple company has been not only chosen by their customers as good design one, but good software too!! And a vast amount of guys went to route of "Just make it work and release it, then next project" instead of promoting revolutionary software.

    I think Apple is so tied to Steve. Now it's simply not Apple.

    Apple Store should not be Google, must promote good applications, innovative concepts, support them, even help them grow with good software / concepts such as kickstarter, but ala Steve way. Steam for games, Apple for Apps, Android... all the same.

    Apple "My Windows has a virus, my Mac never" has driven them insane about MAS security and lots of software that simply doesn't run on MAS.

    Just a philosophical thought... :-)

  4. This is about BareBones Softwares BBEdit, which is in the high end price range for a text editor's and compare to some of the newer ones in the mid to low end of features. Back in the Classic era it was the best, but is thrustful outclassed by the current competition.

    Hope they don't screw over all their MAS customers, of which i am one.

  5. Harrie W

    15 Oct 2014 Crossville, Tennessee, USA

    I do not use Xojo for a means of income so I have no experience with the MAS other than one who purchases software through the App Store. I have to say, I am fed up with a large majority of the apps out there. This is not to say that they are of poor quality, many aren't. What I am fed up with is the low pricing and then filling the app with adds and in-app purchases as the means to make income from them. I am much more willing to pay the $20, $30, or whatever dollars for a good app that does not annoy me with ads and asks for no further purchases once I start using it. In those cases where a vendor offers their app both through the App Store and via their own web store I will gladly go with the version from their web site. Part of this is because they can typically get updated versions on to their web site well ahead of it showing up in the App Store. 1Password is a prime example here; but, it is not the only one. I have purchases games and soon lose interest in them thanks to the annoying animated ads or the fact that I have to buy some stupid tokens or whatever in order to progress a little further in to the game. It may be a great money maker but I find it totally annoying and those games soon get deleted from the device that they are on. I wish more authors would post two versions on the software, that free full of ads and the need for further purchases and a second version that makes them a decent amount up front but has none of that imbedded annoyance within it. I will go for the higher price every time.

  6. Bob K

    15 Oct 2014 Pre-Release Testers, Xojo Pro Kansas City

    Some additional blogs covering this: http://mjtsai.com/blog/2014/10/12/bbedit-leaving-mac-app-store/

  7. Harrie W

    15 Oct 2014 Crossville, Tennessee, USA

    BBEdit is another one where I have always downloaded updates and new versions straight from the Barebones web site.

  8. @Harrie W I do not use Xojo for a means of income so I have no experience with the MAS other than one who purchases software through the App Store. I have to say, I am fed up with a large majority of the apps out there. This is not to say that they are of poor quality, many aren't. What I am fed up with is the low pricing and then filling the app with adds and in-app purchases as the means to make income from them. I am much more willing to pay the $20, $30, or whatever dollars for a good app that does not annoy me with ads and asks for no further purchases once I start using it. In those cases where a vendor offers their app both through the App Store and via their own web store I will gladly go with the version from their web site. Part of this is because they can typically get updated versions on to their web site well ahead of it showing up in the App Store. 1Password is a prime example here; but, it is not the only one. I have purchases games and soon lose interest in them thanks to the annoying animated ads or the fact that I have to buy some stupid tokens or whatever in order to progress a little further in to the game. It may be a great money maker but I find it totally annoying and those games soon get deleted from the device that they are on. I wish more authors would post two versions on the software, that free full of ads and the need for further purchases and a second version that makes them a decent amount up front but has none of that imbedded annoyance within it. I will go for the higher price every time.

    Totally agree with you... on iOS or Mac OS X I only buy premium apps, and only if the in-apps are for more content (If there are any in-apps).

  9. Michel B

    15 Oct 2014 Pre-Release Testers, Xojo Pro

    @Bob K Interesting article about the Mac App Store. http://blog.helftone.com/mac-app-store-the-subtle-exodus/

    The criticisms are valid and I agree with everything he wrote. The MAS is a great avenue for developers to sell their software but the general pricing structure is too low to live on unless you're selling boatloads of apps. There is no try before you buy option and their is no reasonable way to get upgrade money from existing customers. And then add on top of it all, sandboxing is a major PITA for developers to workaround (if they even can).

    The issue is that Apple considers software _all software including songs_ as a disposable commodity. To impulse app sales, the 99 cents song is the general model everything is based on. Impulse buy, no rationale other than instant gratification. This catters well to the brainless crowd that consumes jackass video and thumping music, but not so well to people who genuinely look for value software.

    Compound with that the stupid in app advertising, and the model starts resembling the worst of TV : commercials wrapped around the mosts idiotic topics geared towards the lower end of humanity.

    However, having to elbow with crass morons will not deter me from having apps in the MAS. I have been selling moderate ticket items for years though my web sites ($19.95), and providing evaluation versions from the onset. That business has not changed. When I went MAS back in 2013, I created apps based on my popular font packages, and guess what, the price was $19.99. They sold fine. Actually, about the same as my web sites did, and the nice thing is that it came as a plus on top of my existing business.

    The key is that the MAS is not for me the alpha and omega of software distribution. It is only one channel, even if rather prominent in terms of worldwide sales. I never got that many sales worldwide as the MAS before.

    I did not put in the MAS more expensive packages, such as the $99.95 MICR Fonts with calibration software, or the school licenses starting at $129.95. They simply do not have their place in the MAS. Not only because of the price range, but also because they require a level of support I do not think the MAS allows, since Apple keeps to itself the name and email of the end user.

    As an additional revenue, I like very much the MAS : put the app there, and they will come. Now if I was to depend only on it, I may not be that of a happy camper...

    The arrival of iOS Xojo will be an interesting occasion to verify that another way : such software cannot be sold out of Apple's maline hoops. I intend to port some of my apps to the iPad and see what happens.

  10. Christoph D

    15 Oct 2014 Pre-Release Testers, Xojo Pro

    I agree about the prices. They are frankly absurdly low. I mean, you can buy a full blown pro level game for less than 1 eur.
    Apps with prices of +20 eur are avoided and never ever get in the higher ranks (read: your app is hopeless lost in the thousands of free or cheap apps).

    The MAS is imo only good to get noticed but for most of us you cannot live on.

  11. Harrie W

    15 Oct 2014 Crossville, Tennessee, USA

    I wonder if anyone that won't purchase a game for $20 or more, bothers to keep track of the total cost of the in-app purchases that they make in order to get to the end of some of the games that they buy. They probably end up paying way more than what games typically cost prior to the MAS...but, they got the game for free and that is what they remember.

  12. Roger C

    15 Oct 2014 Lewis Center, OH

    The author of the article postulates that there is a steady exodus of developers from the MAS but offers no data to support that claim. I question whether he even has access to that data. I suspect the article reflects the author's own frustration with the MAS more than hard data. As for my own position, I see no evidence that the MAS cannibalizes sales from my web site. If I am correct, then the MAS is just added gravy which I will continue to support.

  13. Michel B

    15 Oct 2014 Pre-Release Testers, Xojo Pro

    @Harrie W I wonder if anyone that won't purchase a game for $20 or more, bothers to keep track of the total cost of the in-app purchases that they make in order to get to the end of some of the games that they buy.

    That is probably the whole idea behind the App Store. Don't forget that Apple is not doing that by virtue, but for their own business interest. I suspect the 99 cents model is kind of the same as the store of the same name in California, or the Dollar Store on the East coast. Each item seems awfully cheap, but at the register, the basket comes to $20.00 anyway.

    @Roger C The author of the article postulates that there is a steady exodus of developers from the MAS but offers no data to support that claim.

    Nobody has any statistics beyond his own sales. This guy has a point when it comes to strong brands, such as BBEdit, which started way before the MAS even existed, so they already have a lot of momentum to commercialise their app. So it is not so much an exodus as basically coming back to their original model. People who start on the MAS have quite a different equation : where would one go to exode to ? Hackstore ? God forbit Digital River or eSellerate ? Come on...

    @Roger C As for my own position, I see no evidence that the MAS cannibalizes sales from my web site. If I am correct, then the MAS is just added gravy which I will continue to support.

    +1

  14. Amando B

    15 Oct 2014 Pre-Release Testers, Xojo Pro Europe (Spain, Santiago Compos...

    @Christoph Dnbsp;Vocht I agree about the prices. They are frankly absurdly low. I mean, you can buy a full blown pro level game for less than 1 eur.
    Apps with prices of +20 eur are avoided and never ever get in the higher ranks (read: your app is hopeless lost in the thousands of free or cheap apps).

    The MAS is imo only good to get noticed but for most of us you cannot live on.

    Agreed!. Exactly. The dollar per song model worked before, for a song. But for software.... and I do sell an App for that amount of money due to the overall existings Apps. Selling it 10 times the overall price simply lowers my rank (sales per day). It's a wrong model for Apple, good for customers, a nightmare for developers. The model is good, just is unbalanced, as some bad rpg games.

    Not only Bbedit has left MAS, SourceTree comes to my mind just now ( surely not about sales / royalties ) but about Apple's insane and absurd security policy, to treat all App developers as trojan makers!! If they do manually review an Application, they can change the ratio to focus more on security and less on other cosmetic aspects.

  15. @Harrie W I wonder if anyone that won't purchase a game for $20 or more, bothers to keep track of the total cost of the in-app purchases that they make in order to get to the end of some of the games that they buy. They probably end up paying way more than what games typically cost prior to the MAS...but, they got the game for free and that is what they remember.

    +1 we have a winner here.

  16. Franck P

    15 Oct 2014 Pre-Release Testers Paris, France
    Edited 3 years ago by Franck P

    I do not agree about the 0.99 $ software being the bestsellers on the MAS. At least on the french MAS, nearly half the top 25 best selling applications are above 15 €. Not mentioning the top grossing apps where nearly all (but 2-3) cost more than 15 € and quite a few more than 50 € .
    So people do buy more expensive applications on the MAS than what they buy on the iOS App Store.
    I just bought Affinity Designer for example. nearly 40 euros. Terrific application for a version 1.0 I think they will sell a load of it.
    But I agree, I would not have bought it for the price of Photoshop or Illustrator. This is not the same market.

    What I think are the real problems of the MAS is the very restrictive Sandboxing, the sudden changes in policy (including new signing) and more than anything, the impossibility to answer to a user which give a lot of power to users who sometime may have miss something or even to competitors that may easily make a bad reputation to an app. This is impossibility of existing as a developer while the users can shout as loudly as they want is really frustrating.

  17. Michel B

    15 Oct 2014 Pre-Release Testers, Xojo Pro

    @Amando B I do sell an App for that amount of money due to the overall existings Apps.

    That maybe the issue. Unless you believe your app is no better than the others, why put it at exactly the same price ?

    If you app is yet again one of the crowd and that there are already 10 of them, why bother even maintaining it. If statistics in software are consistent with regular market figures, the leader takes 80% of the sales, and the others share the remaining 20%. All you can hope for is 1% of the lot. I'll leave the app there to die with no maintenance. If it sells fine, if it does not pity.

    Before releasing an app takes some market survey. If the market is already crowded, it may not be worth the effort. Unless it is a spinoff and does not take much effort, forget it.

    If you find a nice niche, that becomes another story.

    One of my apps has but one competitor, with a $2.99 price tag. The guy has no support whatsoever, and emails sent to inquire get no answer. I started mine, which is pretty equivalent, at $5.95. It sold so well, I increased the price until I saw sales get back down, then regressed to the last highest. It now sells very nicely at $14.99. If in effect I had placed it at the same price as the other guy, I would be losing $12 gross amount per sale.

    Of course, I provide the best service I can, have already improved the app from customer suggestions, and overall take care of the business. I also sell the same app on my web site, and envision putting up an evaluation version there. So people who want to try before they buy will be able to. I have no statistics about how many prospects visit the author's web site, but I suspect some do. At least I get email inquiries.

  18. Amando B

    15 Oct 2014 Pre-Release Testers, Xojo Pro Europe (Spain, Santiago Compos...

    @Michel B If you app is yet again one of the crowd and that there are already 10 of them, why bother even maintaining it. If statistics in software are consistent with regular market figures, the leader takes 80% of the sales, and the others share the remaining 20%.

    I did a bit of market research until I realized that Apple Store works like google, has a rank algorithm based on the number of sales per day. If your marker has more than 1 page, maintaining top among 6-7 makes it sustainable. I did some research and my app was among top-100 paid apps for several weeks. For my kind of application is quite strange!

    But my little application is not really a good way to measure MAS way to make more statistics than keyword ranks.

    I am planning to prepare a new one to test for a better price tag, but still think Apple Store is working like Google or Facebook. There are no innovation points that uppers your application rank.

  19. Michel B

    15 Oct 2014 Pre-Release Testers, Xojo Pro
    Edited 3 years ago by Michel B

    @Amando B Apple Store works like google, has a rank algorithm based on the number of sales per day.

    Yet again, this is consistent with the music business. The way they present stats also emphases the number of sales and not the gross amount. Curiously, Apple does not provide the amount of sales. One has to add them manually.

    I was fooled by that until I started adding the sales amount to come up with a daily gross. My interest is the amount of money I get in. Not the number of 99 cent sales I make a day. I rather sell 5 copies @ $14.99 a day that bring in $74.95 total, than hope for 75 units sold at $0.99 a piece. If I only ever get that many.

    I may never be famous or ranked first, but I rather get some profit. Just a question of perspective, I guess.

  20. The charts include "Top Grossing" and there, at the top, is Logic Pro at 199.99

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