In App Purchasing for Free Apps: Good move?

Apple finally rolled out In App purchases for free apps. When Apple restricted In-App purchases for paid apps only, I wondered what the thought process was behind the move. I thought there were two reasons they restricted this earlier.

1) If they open In App purchases in free apps, we will see a ton of free apps and in many cases with very limited functionality and developers will try to nickel and dime for every feature after the free app is installed. The number of installations a free app gets is few hundred times more than paid apps in some cases (based on my own experience).

2) Free app developers need not have some agreements signed with Apple (and hence no linking to their bank account etc) as there is no money involved. The process of offering apps on AppStore was straight forward for free apps. If In App purchase was introduced for free apps, there needs to be some changes to the agreements and involves some backend work.

These anyway were my own reasoning on why they didn’t introduce this in the first place. But now we have it available and I think it is a good move. I might change my opinion after I see how the market will turn out. I hate to see developers nickel and dime customers. Regarding my second point, Apple today made some changes to the agreement. While I didn’t see what has changed between the previous agreement, I am sure it has something to do with In App purchases for free apps. I think Apple is finally ready to offer this and I think this can benefit the AppStore.

Finally, as I said earlier, Apple has been focusing a lot of quantity of the apps rather than quality. Once the AppStore hits 100K app, I think it should start focusing on quality. If not, it’ll just turn out to be a CrapStore.

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