No Upgrade Pricing Only Hurts Users In the Long Run

This post refers to

Gabe Glick:

When most people go to a store, they don’t expect to take home products that catch their eye and try them out for a limited time. They don’t expect to get reduced prices on the latest version of a product they’ve paid for before. The retail model of a typical store from a consumer’s point of view is simple. You walk in, look for something you want, pay for it, and walk out.

But wait, that’s not how software works…oh, here we go:

Developers and longtime computer users may be used to the shareware, time trial, pay-full-price-once-upgrade-cheaply-forever model of buying and selling software, but regular people, the mass market that Apple continues to court first and foremost, aren’t. Adding demos (“I thought this app was free, but now it’s telling me I have to pay to keep using it? What a ripoff!”) and paid upgrades (“Wait, I bought this app last year and now I have to pay again to keep using it? Screw that!”) would introduce a layer of confusion and make buying an app a more arduous process, which would result in people buying fewer apps.

Guess not.

Glick’s points are fair, and since Apple does play the “simplicity” card fairly often, this isn’t crazy. Here’s the problem though, re-releasing a new version of an app as a completely separate app is even more confusing. Whether the upgrade is an in-app purchase or a completely new purchase, developers can’t give away updates for free forever. I think in-app upgrades are easier for the user.

My prediction is that until Apple rectifies this, developers are going be less likely to add new features for free, and I don’t blame them.