Well wanted to write this last week, but wanted to read more about the reactions to Apple yanking out the “I am rich” application from its store.
Apple’s reaction to the app is hardly surprising, after all the company does have a reputation for masking its dubious actions of cencorship and spoon feeding its customers under the blanket motto of “quality”. What was surprising (may be less so given the psyche of the iStuff customers) is the customers reaction. All I have heard all around are “kudos Steve, great work.”
Forget cencorship, are we actually planning to get rid of the words “Common Sense” out of our vocabulary and lives for ever? What ever happened to Buyer Beware? Let me go through the arguments Ive heard.
1. It is Apple’s store and they can do what ever they want.
Ok No argument here. I mean if M$ can do what they want and get away with it, why shouldnt Apple? If this is all we care about, then stop reading right here.
2. You dont find $1000 news papers in a news-stand so why should we have them in the AppStore?
Marketing and Economics 101. A news agent, has to prioritise the shelf space to maximise his/her profits. A good indication of this is the customer demand for a product, not ethical or moral values. You dont find $1000 news papers in a news stand simply because the market segment looking for $1000 news papers is not the one being targetted by the news stand. If you are looking for expensive magazines try this.
3. Dilutes the quality of the App Store
Welcome to economics again. Ever heard of supply and demand? Ever heard of transaction costs? It was not exactly hard to “find” the product. The App store enables you to search by price and (I am assuming) a few other criteria. So we have 0 transactions costs for the users OR Apple (never mind that Apple made a cool 30% of the app!). In an open market (which is what this SHOULD be) the best would bubble to the top and crap like this sinks to the bottom (ok I suddenly have a hankering for this app and I dont even have an iPhone!).
4. People are being fooled and tricked.
How? Was the price not clear? Was the product description not clear? Sure the app is useless. But was its uselessness ever a secret and mis-communicated? The 8 who have actually bought the app, knew exactly what they were getting into (by the way how many of them are actually complaining about it?).
5. Mockery of the store
Wow another insightful argument for masking the envy at good (well ok going a bit far there) entrepreneurship. So suddenly we are ok with Louis Vuitton bags (known mainly for their durability?) but an attempt at brand management and positioning (towards deep-pocketed) users is wrong and unethical and evil and dodgy (and a whole lot of other equally _____ adjectives). Perhaps it is time we (developers) start making apps targeted at user needs (refer to PG’s “make something users want” mantra for this)?
All said and done fellas, the marketing hype for the AppStore and Heinrich (the app’s author) have been phenominal. Even with a sale to 8 customers, thats a massive revenue of 80,000. Wow. Kudos. This is just capitalism guys. Get used to it. The thing with idiots is, if you cant beat them, you just take advantage of them. And kudos again to Heinrich for doing just that. Dont try to beat this guy, join him!!
The other reason I am excited about Apple having been foolish in dealing with this App, is that the need for a better market place for the iPhone is becoming more pronounced. How long can Apple’s cencorship and treatment of its customers as children help insulate (and incubate?) its customers’ stupidity?