Apple’s alternate price tiers: bad news for Brits

It’s long been a complaint of computer users in Europe that they have to pay more for their software from companies like Adobe, Microsoft and Apple compared to prices in the US. The App Store has generally been immune to this: price tiers are based on the US dollar price, and most prices in foreign currencies are within 10% of the dollar price, for example a Tier 1 app is 0.99 USD, 0.69 GBP (equivalent to 1.07 USD) or 8 HKD (equivalent to 1.031 HKD).

In June Apple quietly introduced new “Alternate” price tiers which publishers can optionally use for their apps. I can’t think of any reason for this except to allow traditional media companies to get back to their usual practice of screwing over consumers in Europe, particularly the UK.

I downloaded the price tier data from iTunes Connect, and created a small spreadsheet to show the difference in price between Price Tier 1 and Alternate Price Tier 1. Brits now have to pay 0.99 GBP, equivalent to 1.53 USD, a 43% increase on the old price. The EU price has risen by 11% so Europeans are now paying a 33% premium over the US.

Six countries, marked below, have suffered an increase of more than 20%.

Screen Shot 2013-08-10 at 16.50.10

I’ve made the data available as a Google Doc if you want to experiment.

My advice to developers: stick to the traditional prices. Don’t let it all end in tiers…

Matt Mayer

Matt Mayer is a founder at ReignDesign. Matt is from the UK and was based in Shanghai for ten years. He is now living in Bangkok, Thailand.

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