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For Mac Developers, Armageddon Comes Tomorrow 429

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the race-to-the-bottom dept.
kdawson writes "David Gewirtz's blog post over at ZDNet warns of an imminent price collapse for traditional Mac applications, starting tomorrow when the Mac App Store opens. The larger questions: what will Mac price plunges of 90%-95% mean for the PC software market? For the Mac's market share? Quoting: 'The Mac software market is about as old-school as you get. Developers have been creating, shipping, and selling products through traditional channels and at traditional price points for decades. ... Mac software has historically been priced on a parity with other desktop software. That means small products are about $20. Utilities run in the $50-60 range. Games in the $50 range. Productivity packages and creative tools in the hundreds, and specialty software — well, the sky's the limit. Tomorrow, the sky will fall. Tomorrow, the iOS developers move in and the traditional Mac developers better stick their heads between their legs and kiss those price points goodbye.'"
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For Mac Developers, Armageddon Comes Tomorrow

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 05, 2011 @10:38AM (#34764710)

    Indeed. Go look at Steam where PC games at price points between $3 and $70 happily co-exist. Even the cheapest "serious" titles are $15-$20 and I expect the same to happen here. Yes, there are small indie games sold at cheap price points and you get what you pay for.

    The only situation where I could see a case for change is with small utilities - PC/Mac utility software is usually sold at between $10-$50 with $20 being often quoted. This may erode for smaller utilities but again, I expect the price to reflect the complexity and usefulness of the software.

  • In other news... (Score:4, Informative)

    by itsdapead (734413) on Wednesday January 05, 2011 @10:58AM (#34764916)

    Apple's iWork suite (Pages, KeyNote and Numbers) is rumored to be [macrumors.com] coming out at $20 per application, c.f. the current version at $80 for the bundle. That's a significant price drop but hardly a collapse (and could be self-compensating if it leads to more sales) - and Apple are probably in a position to price that as a loss leader to promote the store.

    Something like Plants vs. Zombies (excellent casual game) is $3 on the iPhone, $7 on the iPad vs. (currently) $20 for the mac, which is a bit more of a price drop (I think the Mac version has a few extras, but there's an awful lot in the iPad version). Note that there's already a precident for charging more for iPad versions, so there's no expectation that Mac versions will match the iOS price. PvZ for Mac has already been on offer on Steam for less, at times.

    Then there's things like CoPilot and TomTom at (UK) price points like £19.99, £39.99, £59.99 for iPhone - Probably not good candidates for a Mac version, but they give the lie to the idea that everything on the iOS app store costs $0.99. (Apologies for the currency mixing - but this is Apple so $1 and £1 aren't a lot different...)

  • Re:Price vs volume (Score:5, Informative)

    by gstoddart (321705) on Wednesday January 05, 2011 @11:32AM (#34765262) Homepage

    Software is simply overpriced, vendors have been getting away with charging ridiculous amounts for years because they're greedy. Software sales are 99% profit

    Horseshit. Pure horseshit.

    Having worked as a professional developer for 13 years before my current job, unless you have a stable codebase which nobody is changing, you have expenses for developers, QA, documentation and tech writers, sales, marketing ... plus you have to pay the accountants, lawyers, admin staff, IT staff, office costs, and executive bonuses.

    There is no freaking way that software sales are 99% profit -- nowhere close. Building commercial software is an expensive, and resource intensive task. Anybody saying otherwise has likely never done it.

    Just because some people can afford to/are willing to give away their labors for free (and I'm certainly a fan of free software) doesn't mean there isn't a cost associated with it. These people are either doing it because it's fun, or because they're students. In either case, they still need to pay their bills and couldn't afford to write free software if they weren't getting paid from something else (or had nothing better to do with their time).

  • by 0racle (667029) on Wednesday January 05, 2011 @11:42AM (#34765380)
    The Mac App store seems to have less restrictions then the iOS store as the Mac is a different platform then the iOS. The App Store is meant to be a place to easily get a hold of many Mac Apps. The Mac is a full desktop, this isn't supposed to be some nefarious scheme to change that. Demos aren't allowed, Apple recommends devs continue to use their own site to distribute them. Apps that shit all over the file system aren't allowed. It must use XCode tools and installer (WoW won't be in the store) and what not. I believe in app purchases aren't allowed (i.e. Steam is probably not allowed). It doesn't seem as if Apple is interested in making this the only place to get Mac Apps, especially with the recommendation that devs still use their own sites to distribute trials, just an easy place to get many Mac tools and apps.

    MacWorld article on the App Store [macworld.com]

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