Papering over App Store problems

The challenges facing Adobe are shared by almost all productivity apps.

  • Productivity apps are indispensable (and thus priceless) to some users
  • Productivity apps usually have high learning curves
  • Well-done productivity apps require significant investment up-front
  • Productivity apps require regular maintenance and upgrades

Unfortunately, app store economics don’t really work here.

  • f you have a low price, you need massive volume to make up for the upfront costs
  • If you have a high price, users are much less likely to buy your app, especially since there is likely a learning curve *If you can’t monetize over time, your users are extracting MUCH more value than you are receiving in revenue. That’s great if you’re a user, up until the company you love sells out because they can’t make money. Sparrow is the canonical example here. How many Sparrow devotees would gladly pay $5 a month to have the app available and continually updated?

A rather more thoughtful piece, I thought, than the more recent one by Gedeon Maheux that everyone has been discussing lately.

Put bluntly, the App Store is going to have to change its economic model: otherwise quality productivity apps will simply be priced out of it, and it will risk going (horror) the Android way.