I've got nearly $500 worth of apps on my iPhone and I want to sell them all for $99 to pay my bill - but Apple says I can't.
Sadly, Apple doesn't allow users to legally sell purchased iPhone apps to others. While the iPhone OS 3.0 might sport a secret new app sharing feature, a limited functionality will narrow down the usability of this rumored feature to mainly games.
Watchful readers might argue that the iTunes Store policy has always allowed one to authorize up to five devices with an iTunes Store account. Nevertheless, the policy doesn't cover the process of transferring iPhone apps and their respective software licence agreements to another user.
True, the aforementioned iTunes Store authorization rule is relaxed enough to provide a workaround solution that falls in murky legal waters. More precisely, the policy makes it possible to authorize a friend's device with your iTunes Store account and thenpreload his device with your apps.
Of course, in most cases app-specific license agreements strictly forbid this. As a result, you are breaking the law when installing apps on devices you don't own. What's needed is a system that enables legal transfer of purchased apps between users in exchange for the money.
When you think of it, this should be requirement imposed by the letter of the law. You can legally sell purchased boxed software to anyone so why wouldn't the same customer freedom apply to downloadable software for mobile devices? I also wonder why is it taking so long for consumer advocates to bring this issue before the general public and pressure Apple into providing a satisfactory solution. The company already has all the pieces in place to facilitate the solution.
Theoretically, you would mark a specific purchased app on the device or in desktop iTunes for sale and set the price that should be limited to a maximum of what you originally paid. Then, select the iTunes Store username of a buyer. The app would appear on buyer's device in a special section of the App Store, ready for sale. Once the transaction is completed, the app could either be remotely deleted from your authorized devices and desktop iTunes or de-authorized for use.
Of course, Apple would likely keep 30 percent of your set price to itself, just like the company does with regular App Store purchases, arguing that the saleprocess is facilitated through the App Store billing mechanism.
The remaining 70 percent should go directly to the seller, not the developer who created the app. I'm not sure if all three parties (Apple, developers , users) would ever agree to such sharing scheme, especially developers who get nothing from it.
But when you think of it, the developer has been already paid for the original app purchase and shouldn't make money if a user is simply moving, not copying, the app to a different device.
If developers got their chunk in such a scenario, than developers of boxed software you bought for your computer should have also been entitled to a certain percentage when you sell your software to a friend.
In case of iPhone app sale, the buyer isn't purchasing a new copy of the app but the existing one and the seller doesn't get to keep sold app to himself so the money should go to you - the seller - not the developer.
Still, I do believe that consumers should haveequal rights regardless of the medium used to deliver commerical software. Digital purchases should match rights that come with the software sold on a physical media, including the right to sell your copy to anyone you like, at whatever price you see fit, given that you have destroyed any and all remaining copies of the software upon sale.
Am I just dreaming?