Tweetbot for Mac Pricing

After what seemed like an agonising wait for the Mac App Store review period to complete Tweetbot for Mac has now been released. The app went through a long (and strangely quite public1) alpha testing period and as a result there is very little to surprise the user in the finished product. Except that is, the price.

The sale price of $20 has ruffled a few feathers amongst the potential customers for Tweetbot. This is not surprising as there are few Twitter clients in the Mac App Store that sell for more that $5. Additionally Tweetbot for iPhone and Tweetbot for iPad are both priced at $2.99 making a $20 selling price a 666% increase in price for an app that does pretty much the same thing in a consumer’s eyes.

Personally, I feel that the $20 price tag for this piece of software is steep, but still justifiable. Tapbots have put a lot of effort into this application and they deserve some compensation. Additionally, they have to factor in the cost of Twitter user tokens meaning that they can’t rely on an ever-expanding user base in order to re-coup costs. I can understand some of the backlash to the price increase but this is probably more of a case of the previous clients being undervalued, as opposed to this client being overvalued.

I see this as a positive step, not just for Tapbots, but for App Store pricing in general. The long-discussed “race to the bottom” in app pricing can make it difficult for all but the most popular apps to survive. It is good to see a “headline” app take on realistic pricing and hopefully some of the smaller developers will gain the confidence to increase their prices in future. Higher prices will ultimately make for a more sustainable business model that allows small development companies to survive.

  1. I’m holding onto my conspiracy theory that the Tweetbot for Mac went to alpha very early because Tapbots were tipped off somehow. The fact that the app was around for a while before user token limits were put in place gave Tapbots a chance to acrue more user tokens than they would have done otherwise.