The open web app store idea got some attention at the Mozilla Summit. I blogged about the idea of anyone being able to create sites to “sell” applications created by others, fortunately it seems like that is also what Pascal had in mind (correct me if I got it wrong).
I don’t think there is a big opposition to let the creators of web apps earn money on their creations – what could be discussed is whether or not the store should be able to take a piece of the cake, and if the creator should have a saying as to what price the end user pays, I’ll get back to this in a moment as that is what this blog post is mainly about.
First of all I would like to note that as there are hardly any borders on the Internet I don’t believe that any ideas about having different prices or release dates on different markets is something that belongs in the current world.
What I do believe is that the price of the same product can be different depending on which store you buy it in and I think it is fair that the store charges for its service.
If I create some application I should of cause be able to decide the price of the application, meaning I should be able to say how I want to be compensated for someone else to use my creation, I can set the price, I can choose that I don’t want any compensation, that I want one dollar, or that I want a trillion billion dollars for it.
The big question is now, after I have sold the application to a third party (think the store), should I still be able to decide what price the third party takes, if the product is resold? Personally I would be pretty annoyed if I bought a TV set and the producer of that TV set could decide what price I could resell it for, say Sony said that I can’t resell my Sony TV for any price less than what I paid for it originally, or if the previous owner of my house prevented me for selling my house for more than what I originally paid.
I think the same goes for software, if I create a store of web apps, I should be able to sell the applications for less than what I pay for them, I might want to draw traffic to my store by having discounts, or I might charge an overprice for extra service, or to cover the cost of advertising to draw people to my store.
I fully understand that if I create an application and say I sell it for 99 cents, then I might feel cheated if I see a store being able to sell it for 10 dollars, but that is the world we live in, and competition between the stores will hopefully keep the prices down, when anyone is able to create a store and set the prices – If I go to a store and pay 10x the price that I later find the same product for in another store, then the store that charge 10x the price lost me as a costumer for the future.
My point is that if the stores can see a business case in selling apps, then we will have much more choice (one store can offer a money back guarantee and another one can have an offer of the week to draw customers in).
In the real world price fixation and exclusive stores rarely benefits the consumer.
Anyone should be able to setup a store and sell whatever applications they like, as long as the original creator of the application gets the compensation that they want.