The Mac App Store flea market

Great piece by Marco Arment on the downward spiral of the Mac App Store.  Coming from a developer, though, this surprised me:

[W]hen an app was available both in and out of the Mac App Store, I always bought the App Store version, even if it was more expensive.

Before clicking “Buy App”, I always considered the 30% cut that the developer was giving up to Apple, just for the privilege of selling in the Store.  In most cases (but not all), that meant bypassing the Store.

Of course, not selling in the Store carries its own marketing and distribution costs.  If the Store had been an absolute success and eliminated the side-loading market,1 it would have eliminated those costs, so the 30% cost to the developer would have had less impact on their profits.  The Store is not an absolute success, though, so developers who offer their apps both through the Store and through traditional distribution media still carry those costs.

  1. Funny how times change.  FIve years ago, downloading, saving, finding, and running an installer wasn’t “side-loading” – it was pretty much the only way to install a program.

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