App developer raises price of $2.99 iPhone app to $39.99 in response to complaints about high prices

An iPhone development company recently raised the price of a $2.99 iPhone app to $39.99 in response to complaints about high prices

In response to customer complaints that its prices are too high, Schiau Studios raised the price this past weekend of their Alchemize app from $2.99 all the way up to $39.99, making it the most expensive game on the iTunes App Store for a brief period.  The price change is only temporary (and all the proceeds go to charity), but the price change is an interesting response to a vocal number of iPhone owners who for some reason seem to believe that everything on the iTunes App Store should be free, or at least fit into their pre-conceived notions of what price range an app should fit into. The move by Schiau Studios won't earn them any more sales, though perhaps some free publicity, but its decision to raise the price of Alchemize highlights an interesting tug of war between developers who are trying to make some money with iPhone apps and the end users who often complain that a $3 app is too expensive. Early last week, Newsweek published an article discussing how the notion of an iTunes App Store that shrouds developers with riches is more of a mirage than anything else.  In response, some have praised Newsweek's varied take on the app store while others have pointed out that the iTunes App Store is a business just like any other, and that financial success is by no means a guarantee. On a related note, Tweetie 2 for the iPhone hit the app store this past Friday, and thus far, reviews of the popular Twitter app have been universally positive.  But in the week or 2 preceding the release of Tweetie 2, some iPhone users complained that the app wouldn't be offered as a free upgrade for users who purchased the first iteration of Tweetie.  Instead, Tweetie 2 would be priced at $2.99 with the reasoning being that the app was completely re-written from the ground up and offers users a bevy of new features and functionality.  Whether or not Tweetie 2 is worth the $2.99 isn't entirely relevant to the discussion (sidenote : I believe it definitely is), but what is important is the growing sentiment that a $3 app for a device that costs $99 to purchase (at the very minimum) and is subject to high monthly fees is a rip off. Now far be it from me to dictate which apps are priced too high and which are priced appropriately, but I can't figure out why users are so passionate about criticizing developers when all they need to do in order to protest it to simply not purchase an app.  A dearth of sales is the best way to make it clear than an app is either not well done, or is in dire need of a price cut. The above-mentioned move by Schiau Studios was, in my opinion, a nice reminder of how good we iPhone users have it.  Many amazing apps can be found for under $3, and a good number of incredible apps are actually free. I mean, it wasn't too long ago that the entire notion of a well-rounded mobile app store was a pipe dream, and basic and shoddy apps on other platforms commanded much higher asking prices.  So instead of complaining about an "expensive" app, iPhone users would be better served by simply speaking with their wallets instead of acting like they're somehow owed something by developers who often times put in hundreds of hours worth of blood, sweat, and tears into an app in the mere hopes that it catches on and becomes a hit. Again, selling Alchemize for $39.99 won't generate a lot of sales, but the symbolic move should help serve as a reminder that in the grand scheme of things, $2.99 for an app is nothing to scoff at. Like this post? Check out these others from iOnApple

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