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Apple expands App Store support for some; WSJ iPhone fees

post #1 of 34
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One high-profile developer now has direct-line telephone access to Apple for App Store support; and The Wall Street Journal intends to charge iPhone users and others for access to mobile content soon.

Million dollar app gets direct support

After Apple was heavily criticized by some developers and pundits for its lack of communication regarding iPhone App Store policies, at least one developer reports that they have been given their own hotline to call when issues arise.

Mike Simon, CEO of LogMeIn, told The Register that his company was given a number by Apple that it can call when it has questions. The software is said to have earned more than $1 million in sales. Simon also said that he knows of at least one other company that has been given first-class treatment.

The report notes that both LogMeIn and the unnamed second application have been featured in TV and print ads from Apple touting the App Store. Simon said that his company's software was included in the advertisements and given the free publicity without any prior consultation. Apple has the right to do so within its developers agreement.

"When we opened up the Wall Street Journal and saw the ad, we were as surprised as anyone else to see our name there," Simon said.

In recent months, some developers have expressed discontent with Apple's App Store approval process. As the handset maker requires all software for the iPhone and iPod touch to be approved before it can be made available for download. Some who had their submissions rejected said the communication from Apple was not clear or fast enough for their liking. In response to some critics, Phil Schiller, the company's senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing, personally responded to explain the situation and resolve issues.

The situation came to a head when the Federal Communications Commission inquired about Apple's non-acceptance of the Google Voice application. The software is still not available for the iPhone.

Wall Street Journal fees starting Oct. 24

Subscribers to The Wall Street Journal will be able to continue reading the paper on the iPhone or other mobile device after Oct. 24, but those who do not subscribe will have to pay $2 per week to access the publication.

According to MarketWatch, that's a change from earlier this week, when News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch said subscribers would have to pay $1 per week to read the publication online.

Those who download the WSJ iPhone app prior to Oct. 24 will receive 90 days of access for free. Murdoch recently said that News Corp. will charge for all of its online news sites, because online advertising supply far exceeds demand.

"Quality journalism is not cheap, and an industry that gives away its content is simply cannibalizing its ability to produce good reporting," Murdoch said.
post #2 of 34
So I guess the rest of the developers don't matter? I wonder what the criteria is to become part of this exclusive "club." If you have $900,000 in sales are you not important enough?
post #3 of 34
it's like Ebay and the powersellers getting special treatment
post #4 of 34
Quote:
"Quality journalism is not cheap, and an industry that gives away its content is simply cannibalizing its ability to produce good reporting," Murdoch said.

True, but what does that have to do with any of Murdoch's rags?
post #5 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by GQB View Post

True, but what does that have to do with any of Murdoch's rags?

Exactly. The WSJ purchase should not have been allowed, but he got it in under Bush.
post #6 of 34
WSJ already charges for premium content. Guess they're not interested in growing their audience with snippets of free content and they're not interested in having ad revenue support the free functions of their online presence. Oh, well. Consider that app gone.

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post #7 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by DKWalsh4 View Post

So I guess the rest of the developers don't matter? I wonder what the criteria is to become part of this exclusive "club." If you have $900,000 in sales are you not important enough?

God, I HATE capitalism. It's so UNFAIR!
post #8 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

WSJ already charges for premium content. Guess they're not interested in growing their audience with snippets of free content and they're not interested in having ad revenue support the free functions of their online presence. Oh, well. Consider that app gone.

The iPhone data isn't snippets - its the whole article. I was pleasantly surprised to find it free but will consider paying for it when I need it (love it for long flights).
post #9 of 34
Big-money developers help sell the platform. Popular apps help sell the platform, with an expectation that similar quality can be expected from the same developer.

The perks should be an incentive for developers to aim higher.

Besides, look at MS' App Store policies on the iPod H . . . err, Zune HD. Yikes.
post #10 of 34
Who would pay $2 per week to read that crap anyway? I know, lots, but not me.
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post #11 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by cameronj View Post

The iPhone data isn't snippets - its the whole article. I was pleasantly surprised to find it free but will consider paying for it when I need it (love it for long flights).

I don't think the issue is whether or not it should be free or paid, but the price.

The whole point (or one of the main points), of in-app purchases is to enable online magazines and so forth, but two dollars a week? That's insane. That's over a hundred bucks a year for an online newspaper. A newspaper. In an age when free newspapers are handed out on every street corner and most contain the same information as is available for free online.

I know the WSJ has some content that goes far beyond "regular" newspapers, but they need to separate out that content and give away the teaser stuff and the dreck for free. They probably also need to go through the entire paper content-wise and re-think (from a truly objective perspective) which parts of that content is actually worth paying for because almost certainly most of it is not.
post #12 of 34
LMAO. App Deleted. I'll find free news elsewhere. Cant wait till they go for broke
post #13 of 34
Murdoch says that all of their online sites will start charging for access soon. $ 2 per week? hahahah. Pay for an online news site where they copy stories from blogs and present them as their own work? Crappy reporting where they can't get facts straight?

Just watch their web site visit counts drop into a bottomless pit.
post #14 of 34
Yeah, Rupert (Fox News) Murdoch talking about "quality journalism." Quality journalism is fast becoming a relic. Today, people want their news short and sensational. Nothing that makes anyone think--that's too hard.
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post #15 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

Big-money developers help sell the platform. Popular apps help sell the platform, with an expectation that similar quality can be expected from the same developer.

The perks should be an incentive for developers to aim higher.

I don't think this direction for the App store is a good thing for most developers, and certainly not for customers.

First, Apple's "improvement" to the App store was to allow viewing apps in order of revenue generation. Why revenue? Do we really care which apps are making the most money when looking for an app for a particular purpose? No, you want the best app, so why not sort by ratings weighted by the number of ratings and reviews? Wouldn't that allow users to find the best apps more easily? Sorting by revenue just pushes the more expensive more established apps to the fore, and ignores whether people felt like they were a waste of money or not. Also, sorting by revenue is really not all that different than "most popular" (number of downloads, which is not a reliable metric of quality), except it's skewed toward the more expensive apps.

Secondly, special treatment for "major developers" is also not good because, again, it gives certain developers a competitive advantage over others, discouraging newcomers from entering the market and ultimately stifling innovation.

Both of these developments have the effect of unleveling the playing field and, while they will allow a small number of developers to gain increased revenue (by giving them an unfair competitive advantage and by both encouraging them to raise prices and burying cheaper alternatives) they do so at the expense of small developers, consumers and innovation.

I understand that special treatment for large developers has been standard operating procedure more or less forever in the software industry. However, it's ultimately harmful to consumers and startups. And it's a very disturbing trend in the development of the App Store.
post #16 of 34
Ah yes, Fox News baiting the ignorant for ad dollars, and CNN offering entertainment in the guise of news. Now THAT's "quality journalism."

This is a good move. It will help insure that no dollars go from me to News Corp. Not even ad dollars
post #17 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

...
I understand that special treatment for large developers has been standard operating procedure more or less forever in the software industry. However, it's ultimately harmful to consumers and startups. And it's a very disturbing trend in the development of the App Store.

As a SMALL developer (well, unreleased as of yet), I'm glad to see the Top Grossing display. It combats the race-to-the-bottom 99 cent pricing by creating an incentive to find not the LOWEST price for you app, but the BEST price: the one that pays you more for you work without being so high it kills sales.

I don't have a team, just me. I'll probably never be in any top 200 list. But I have a lot better shot at paying the rent if apps aren't rewarded so much for being just 99 cents. Top Grossing should be above Top Downloaded on the store screen, though.
post #18 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

I don't think this direction for the App store is a good thing for most developers, and certainly not for customers.

First, Apple's "improvement" to the App store was to allow viewing apps in order of revenue generation. Why revenue? Do we really care which apps are making the most money when looking for an app for a particular purpose? No, you want the best app, so why not sort by ratings weighted by the number of ratings and reviews? Wouldn't that allow users to find the best apps more easily? Sorting by revenue just pushes the more expensive more established apps to the fore, and ignores whether people felt like they were a waste of money or not. Also, sorting by revenue is really not all that different than "most popular" (number of downloads, which is not a reliable metric of quality), except it's skewed toward the more expensive apps.

Secondly, special treatment for "major developers" is also not good because, again, it gives certain developers a competitive advantage over others, discouraging newcomers from entering the market and ultimately stifling innovation.

Both of these developments have the effect of unleveling the playing field and, while they will allow a small number of developers to gain increased revenue (by giving them an unfair competitive advantage and by both encouraging them to raise prices and burying cheaper alternatives) they do so at the expense of small developers, consumers and innovation.

I understand that special treatment for large developers has been standard operating procedure more or less forever in the software industry. However, it's ultimately harmful to consumers and startups. And it's a very disturbing trend in the development of the App Store.

Well the answer to all this is pretty simple. The iPhone is a money-making platform, and it looks like it isn't going to slow down. The laggard competition has ensured that Apple's App Store remains a growth industry. Apple is projected to sell a ridiculous amount of iPhones over the coming year. That is a clear indication of demand, which in turn is a clear indication of where the money is and will be.
post #19 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by DKWalsh4 View Post

So I guess the rest of the developers don't matter? I wonder what the criteria is to become part of this exclusive "club." If you have $900,000 in sales are you not important enough?

Wah. Better that they offer direct support to some top sellers than none at all. If you seem to think they should be doing this for all developers simply because it's not fair, you need a reality check. They would need to employ and train a very large number of skilled employees to do such a thing and that comes with a high cost.
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post #20 of 34
The WSJ app will disappear for a while but will return within a year as a free access app again. The subscription model will not work for them when SO MUCH quality content is available for free.
post #21 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Morky View Post

Exactly. The WSJ purchase should not have been allowed, but he got it in under Bush.

Right, the WSJ is such a conservative newspaper, I'm sure the Bush administration did everything in their power to help out the Journal. <sarcasm>
post #22 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post

Yeah, Rupert (Fox News) Murdoch talking about "quality journalism." Quality journalism is fast becoming a relic. Today, people want their news short and sensational. Nothing that makes anyone think--that's too hard.

You're certainly not implying that NBC, CBS, and ABC are quality journalism are you? At least Fox News doesn't squash stories that don't support it's view. And, how about that Fox News - it has higher ratings in the evening than all three of the major networks combined. Yeah, they must not have quality journalism.
post #23 of 34
Murdoch displayed his visionary futurist qualifications when he predicted that the price of oil would drop to $20 per barrel if the US would invade Iraq. The only surprise is that he doesn't want to charge $5 per week instead of $2 for his Republican party equivalent to Pravda.
post #24 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by quinney View Post

Murdoch displayed his visionary futurist qualifications when he predicted that the price of oil would drop to $20 per barrel if the US would invade Iraq. The only surprise is that he doesn't want to charge $5 per week instead of $2 for his Republican party equivalent to Pravda.

Well put.
post #25 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by quinney View Post

Murdoch displayed his visionary futurist qualifications when he predicted that the price of oil would drop to $20 per barrel if the US would invade Iraq. The only surprise is that he doesn't want to charge $5 per week instead of $2 for his Republican party equivalent to Pravda.

WSJ is possibly one of the few niche journals which might be able to monetise content. You don't read the WSJ unless you've got money to invest and their content (and FT) is certainly 'premium'. Personally, I can get enough of that type of content free and so will be bypassing their generous offer. I love how, if you get a WSJ/FT/NYT article which is subscription only - all you have to do is craft a google news search to find the article and use Google's 'free pass' to read.

Anyway - they (big-money-media interests) have bigger challenges ahead. Google's Fast Flip is going to make Google News feel like a walk in the park. Even the print guys must be squirming http://fastflip.googlelabs.com/
post #26 of 34
I guess on January 24, 2010 the application gets deleted from my iPhone. $2 a week for less content, and an app that crashes frequently for me at least.

I'm not opposed to paying for content... but I have not purchased a Kindle because of the amount publications want for eContent.
post #27 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

As a SMALL developer (well, unreleased as of yet), I'm glad to see the Top Grossing display. It combats the race-to-the-bottom 99 cent pricing by creating an incentive to find not the LOWEST price for you app, but the BEST price: the one that pays you more for you work without being so high it kills sales.

I don't have a team, just me. I'll probably never be in any top 200 list. But I have a lot better shot at paying the rent if apps aren't rewarded so much for being just 99 cents. Top Grossing should be above Top Downloaded on the store screen, though.

Unfortunately, you are exactly the developer this hurts the most. What would help you would be to make it easier for potential buyers to find your app based on its quality and function regardless of what it's priced at or how many downloads you have so far. This just makes it harder for you to compete against the big developers.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

Well the answer to all this is pretty simple. The iPhone is a money-making platform, and it looks like it isn't going to slow down. The laggard competition has ensured that Apple's App Store remains a growth industry. Apple is projected to sell a ridiculous amount of iPhones over the coming year. That is a clear indication of demand, which in turn is a clear indication of where the money is and will be.

This isn't really a response, it's just a restatement of the obvious.
post #28 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

Unfortunately, you are exactly the developer this hurts the most. What would help you would be to make it easier for potential buyers to find your app based on its quality and function regardless of what it's priced at or how many downloads you have so far. This just makes it harder for you to compete against the big developers.




This isn't really a response, it's just a restatement of the obvious.

I know . . . didn't know what else to write. \
post #29 of 34
The funny thing about this WSJ move... there are probably many more well-informed, intelligent (not to mention "insider") bloggers who, if aggregated correctly, would rival any level of reporting by the WSJ. This is the way forward for news organizations. People who know and love what they research and report on, and who can get an audience large enough to make ad revenue or sponsorships (including readers) pay off.

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post #30 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xian Zhu Xuande View Post

Wah. Better that they offer direct support to some top sellers than none at all. If you seem to think they should be doing this for all developers simply because it's not fair, you need a reality check. They would need to employ and train a very large number of skilled employees to do such a thing and that comes with a high cost.

Oh I'm not ignorant enough to think they could do this for all developers. I think its a great idea conceptually. My point was just where do they draw the line on who gets it and who doesn't.
post #31 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

Unfortunately, you are exactly the developer this hurts the most. What would help you would be to make it easier for potential buyers to find your app based on its quality and function regardless of what it's priced at or how many downloads you have so far. This just makes it harder for you to compete against the big developers.

No, he's right. Given the number of apps no small developer will generate the same exposure as a large developer in any way you rack and stack apps. Even using number of ratings and reviews because if you aren't grossing much you also won't have many total ratings or reviews either. Plus these can be gamed to some degree.

Top grossing is harder to game, although I recall there are some folks in China willing to try using fake iTunes credit for you.

Where top grossing does help is exactly where he pointed out: moving the average price point upwards. Your price ceiling as a small developer is what the big dogs are charging. If they averaging $0.99 you can't charge more even if your app is much better without taking a revenue hit because even fewer folks will risk your app vs the big guys regardless of reviews and ratings.

However, if they are charging $4.99 to get their total revenue high enough to get top billing, that lets you charge $3.99 which works out a lot better all around.

It's either that or shoot for a niche app...which is the better plan if you can do so.
post #32 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

The funny thing about this WSJ move... there are probably many more well-informed, intelligent (not to mention "insider") bloggers who, if aggregated correctly, would rival any level of reporting by the WSJ. This is the way forward for news organizations. People who know and love what they research and report on, and who can get an audience large enough to make ad revenue or sponsorships (including readers) pay off.

It's not just content creation that the WSJ provides but the editorial staff who in theory makes sure that content doesn't outright suck. That they fail is human but that's where I see the real value added of a professional news organization: trust factor.

Whether insitutional trust is better than indivdual trust is a personal decision and likely varies between certain individuals and institutions.

For institutions you have to trust that someone will fire a bad editor to maintain quality.

For the individual you have to trust that you know when to fire them from your reading list to maintain quality.
post #33 of 34
I'm surprised nobody has mentioned that $2 a week is the same price as a full online subscription to the WSJ would cost, so I'd be shocked if anyone decided to subscribe to the iPhone-only option. It's just as expensive as the full thing, and WSJ readers are a pretty savvy population.

I had an offer a few weeks ago for the online + print version of the Journal for $99 a year, and if I hadn't been a bit cash flow challenged, I would have done it. The iPhone deal looks really poor compared to that, since I have to admit that I enjoy perusing the paper version and reading breaking news online.

D
post #34 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

"Quality journalism is not cheap, and an industry that gives away its content is simply cannibalizing its ability to produce good reporting," Murdoch said.


Bwahahahaahha! That Rupert, always such a kidder.

He tried it with his Fiji paper (Fiji Times) a few years ago, didn't quite catch on.


Quote:
Originally Posted by vinea View Post

No, he's right. Given the number of apps no small developer will generate the same exposure as a large developer in any way you rack and stack apps. Even using number of ratings and reviews because if you aren't grossing much you also won't have many total ratings or reviews either. Plus these can be gamed to some degree.

I guess small developers will have to do it the same way as everyone else who makes a product, since time immemorial.

Get out there and promote it, wear out the shoe leather, get it out to as many review sites as you can, use promotional codes and introductory pricing.

I think what you find is that a lot of Apps are sold based on seeing friend's use them, word of mouth plays a big role in App sales as it does in iPhone sales.
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