Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 4th May 2017 23:38 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless

No company has done as much damage to the perceived value of software, and the sustainability of being an independent developer, as Apple.

Not that other companies wouldn't have done the same thing - they would have. It's just that Apple was the successful one.

It's resolutely the fault of us as consumers, and it's actively encouraged by the App Store.

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RE: cry my a river
by karunko on Fri 5th May 2017 08:30 UTC in reply to "cry my a river"
karunko
Member since:
2008-10-28

With those hats on, my single answer to the author is "cry me a river".

I agree that some apps really aren't worth much, but it's undeniable that app stores have created a race to the bottom which, in turn, means that software is perceived as a commodity.

While it's true that some developers expect to make a living out of something that should be regarded a hobby providing a little extra money at best, expecting to pay close to nothing and receive updates forever is no less unrealistic.

Last but not least: just because in the past you've been able to give your work/time away for free it doesn't mean that everyone else could afford to (or should).


RT.

Edited 2017-05-05 08:31 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: cry my a river
by feamatar on Fri 5th May 2017 09:04 in reply to "RE: cry my a river"
feamatar Member since:
2014-02-25

I don't understand what prohibits developers to push out a new paid product as an upgrade to the previous one.

I don't understand what prohibits developers to ask for higher price.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: cry my a river
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Fri 5th May 2017 13:30 in reply to "RE[2]: cry my a river"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Nothing but the invisible hand of the market.

I think he's asking for quasi governmental style control of the app store to keep prices artificially high.

Apple introduced a better way of connecting software makers to software users, and opened the flood gates. Now supply and demand have taken over.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: cry my a river
by Em_te on Sun 7th May 2017 04:54 in reply to "RE[2]: cry my a river"
Em_te Member since:
2014-07-23

He's saying the app store has brought about too much competition that he can't compete against the 0.99 cent apps.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: cry my a river
by nicubunu on Fri 5th May 2017 09:26 in reply to "RE: cry my a river"
nicubunu Member since:
2014-01-08

Most of the software *is* a commodity. Exceptions are thing like custom written software, in-house developed apps and such.

The mention of my FOSS involvement was to point my opinion is not one from a mere freeloader.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: cry my a river
by bert64 on Sat 6th May 2017 05:01 in reply to "RE: cry my a river"
bert64 Member since:
2007-04-23

App stores have simply brought it to the public's attention...

I paid nothing to download Linux in the 90s, i've been receiving free updates ever since and a lot of software took far less effort to produce than Linux did.

Everything is a race to the bottom, the difference is where the bottom is - for physical goods it's the cost of raw materials, physical assembly and transportation plus the inherent barriers to entry (production tools etc), but for software the bottom is 0.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: cry my a river
by ssokolow on Sat 6th May 2017 05:13 in reply to "RE[2]: cry my a river"
ssokolow Member since:
2010-01-21

Especially since open-source encourages the continuation of existing efforts, since you don't have to put in any of the up-front commitment (psychological, if nothing else) that negotiating for the source to someone else's defunct project would entail.

Edited 2017-05-06 05:14 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: cry my a river
by Alfman on Sat 6th May 2017 16:12 in reply to "RE[2]: cry my a river"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

bert64,

Everything is a race to the bottom, the difference is where the bottom is - for physical goods it's the cost of raw materials, physical assembly and transportation plus the inherent barriers to entry (production tools etc), but for software the bottom is 0.


First, I agree with you that the marginal costs for software goes to zero, but that's an incomplete narrative. If that were all there was to it then companies like microsoft would not have been able to sell hundreds of millions of copies of windows without regards to marginal cost. Prices did not go down in proportion to marginal costs even though microsoft's market was growing. Instead, historically the fact that marginal costs were zero actually lead to higher profits rather than lower prices for software makers. What's missing is that we need to take into account bargaining power and the effects of middle men, oligopolies, market manipulation, etc. Even with the same supply and demand at the edges of the market, the dynamics of relative bargaining power in the middle do matter as well. Consolidating all stores into a behemoth store distorts the bargaining power so greatly that the producers have no influence to raise prices at all, in short the market collapses down to the marginal costs which is exactly what's happening with the app store monopolies.


Monopolies are extremely unhealthy from a free market point of view. Nevertheless some people feel that consumers are the winners under this kind of controlled market where developers have no bargaining power and prices are kept low. It's true to a point but many of them are only seeing things from the consumer side without considering how this combination of low prices, walled garden fees, etc goes on to affect the development side. It doesn't merely hurt developer's wallets, it also reduces the resources available for innovation and higher quality software. Regardless of our opinions about anything else, I imagine we can all agree that software quality in appstores is a widespread problem today.

We tend to place blame squarely on the developers but the truth is it is extremely difficult to justify investing in better software when you have such little bargaining power with which to ask for a higher price. At least if there were smaller local stores you could build up your reputation within that smaller market (the big fish in a small pond effect).

Reply Parent Score: 2