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Why App Buying is Broken

Yesterday, a friend emailed me to ask if he should get an iPad or a Motorola XOOM.  He wanted my honest opinion, and so I told him what the deciding factor needed to be – did he own already own apps for iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch, or Android apps?


Although the devices cost similar amounts, the costs really come down to the software you need to use it effectively.  Really, there’s no sense in re-buying software (or apps) ever, and for that reason, if you’ve already invested in a platform, changing is impossible unless you want to re-invest.



A few years ago, I bought a license for a program I use often, called iSilo.  It’s a reader program for large text-based files, and is utilized heavily by those in the medical and religious communities for reference works because it allows linking within a large document.

I bought a license for iSilo for use on my iPod Touch, running iOS.  It worked well, although the first version of the software on iOS certainly needed refining.

Fast forward a few years.  My iPod Touch recently died, and I purchased a Motorola Droid X running the Android operating system.  Well, I should be able to use my iSilo license on that device, right?  I purchased it, so I can use it, right?  Unfortunately, no.

Today’s software makers really don’t design their software licenses to allow usage on different platforms or operating systems.  Recently, I started working on the Apple operating system, Snow Leopard (OSX). Does Microsoft allow my valid Microsoft Office (for Windows) 2010 license to be used on an Apple machine?  No, they do not.

This system needs to be examined closely.  A lot of software makers use the term “customer for life”. Well, if a software maker wanted their software to be loved and used over time, they would allow for a user to continue to use the software, despite changing the platform it’s used on.  There may be an initial loss in sales, but if your software or app is truly useful, the longer that a customer uses it, the more they’ll talk about it and recommend it.  Don’t believe me? iSilo is an app I’ve used since 2004 on my Treo 650,VX6700, VX6800, iPod Touch, and my Motorola Droid X.  I recommend it daily, despite users have to rebuying it for each platform.  I’ve recommended this app to so many friends I’ve lost count, and I’ve walked countless people through buying it and setting it up.  For example, I recommended it to a friend last week, and he purchased it on his iPad right in front of me.  Nothing beats word of mouth to help fuel sales.  Now, app makers – help your long-time customers become happy to recommend your software, without forcing them to rebuy it every two years when they get the new latest and greatest phone with a different operating system. Don’t penalize your customer for upgrading.

By |2011-06-16T19:05:14-04:00June 16th, 2011|Categories: Articles|0 Comments

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