Arguably, it was Palm who successfully introduced the first mobile device called the Palm Pilot. It was the hottest thing to replace the Day Planners that most people carried around with them for managing their schedules. Palm went on to create other handheld devices such as the Palm III, Palm V, etc. as well as the forerunner to the smartphones with their Treo Series.
Following the PDA bandwagon was of course, Microsoft, with their Palm PC and later Pocket PC devices. I began developing apps for the Pocket PCs back in circa 2002, and successfully sold apps on my web site for about 6 years. At that time, the prices for my apps ranged from $9.95 to $19.95 and people were willing to pay those prices.
Moving forward in time, Apple comes along with their highly successful iPod digital music player and begins selling music titles for an amazing 99 cents per song on their iTunes online store. That seemed to set a precedence for the price of downloadable media and apps, as Apple began selling iPhone and iPod Touch apps also for around 99 cents.
As such, it seems that the general public feels entitled to very low priced apps. Even at a mere 99 cents, I’ve read forum posters complaining that this app or that app is a ripoff and they want their money back for particular purchases.
Aside from the principal of getting a refund for defective software, why would anyone think 99 cents is too much for an app? Or even $5.00 for an app? I can easily spend $1.50 on a small cup of coffee at Starbucks which is a non-reusable product (coffee beverage). In most cases, you can’t purchase a small lunch for less than $10. So why do people complain about the high price of a $2.00 app but spend 5 times that on a lunch meal with no problem? It just doesn’t make sense to me.
As a developer, I will occasionally get emails from people stating that my software prices are a “ripoff” and I should be providing it for free. For some reason these people need my particular app and feel entitled to having it at no-cost to them. That sense of entitlement is just baffling to me. I guess some people are so dense to not understand the time and effort it takes to gain the knowledge and actually create working applications for the PC or any mobile device. Personally, I’ve spent a good deal of my evenings and weekends learning and writing apps and my time is worth something to me.
So, if you feel a 99 cent app is too rich for your blood, don’t buy it. Stick with the homebrew and freeware apps currently available on the net. If you find an app that you really want, just buy it knowing that you’re supporting a developer who will most likely create more similar apps in the future.