App Store upgrades: It’s not that Apple can’t do it, but they won’t do it

Apple’s iOS and Mac app stores revolutionized software distribution. They provide one-stop shops for apps from vendors around the world, allowing software developers to offer their products without worrying about setting up distribution contracts. They also take care of the fulfillment (billing and downloads), saving developers time and hassle. In exchange, Apple takes a 30 percent cut of sales, which is fair for the service they provide.

But there’s one thing you can’t do in Apple’s app stores: you cannot provide a new version of your apps to existing customers at a discount. You can’t offer upgrade pricing.

Read the rest of the article on Macworld.

8 thoughts on “App Store upgrades: It’s not that Apple can’t do it, but they won’t do it

  1. It’s hard to know whether Schiller (or any other technology spokesperson) is ignorant or lying. As Kirk points out, Apple already supports examples of what Schiller says it would be very hard to do. In addition to the “complete my album/season”, which Kirk mentions, this already exists for apps. If I go to the app store to “buy” an app, I see a price if I am a new customer, while I see an option to re-download it for free, if I already own it. Since two options, with intelligent access management, already exist, I don’t believe the argument that offering a third option is challenging.

    Schiller suggests the subscription model, which many users hate. I hope we continue to resist significant spread of that model. Yet Schiller seems to ignore the fact that a subscription creates another tier of pricing and tracking, which is more complex than upgrades. Of course, Apple has had a subscription-like time-based tracking system for decades, since before the iTunes Store existed.

  2. It’s hard to know whether Schiller (or any other technology spokesperson) is ignorant or lying. As Kirk points out, Apple already supports examples of what Schiller says it would be very hard to do. In addition to the “complete my album/season”, which Kirk mentions, this already exists for apps. If I go to the app store to “buy” an app, I see a price if I am a new customer, while I see an option to re-download it for free, if I already own it. Since two options, with intelligent access management, already exist, I don’t believe the argument that offering a third option is challenging.

    Schiller suggests the subscription model, which many users hate. I hope we continue to resist significant spread of that model. Yet Schiller seems to ignore the fact that a subscription creates another tier of pricing and tracking, which is more complex than upgrades. Of course, Apple has had a subscription-like time-based tracking system for decades, since before the iTunes Store existed.

  3. Kirk, I agree. iTunes also has different pricing for SD and HD videos, so Apple somehow figured out how to do that. I can echo Schiller’s words – I also have run “many large software programs” and find his rationale doubtful. Whatever Apple’s reason is for not enabling upgrade pricing, it’s not what Phil says it is …

  4. Kirk, I agree. iTunes also has different pricing for SD and HD videos, so Apple somehow figured out how to do that. I can echo Schiller’s words – I also have run “many large software programs” and find his rationale doubtful. Whatever Apple’s reason is for not enabling upgrade pricing, it’s not what Phil says it is …

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