The experience of buying software through the Mac App Store

Installing Lion has sent me on a software shopping spree at the Mac App Store. It’s just such a great experience. Not only can I easily find new cool applications that I wouldn’t otherwise know about, but the whole installation process is so easy that buying and installing software “the old way” just seems archaic.

Think about it. Before the Mac App Store, unless you knew exactly the software you were after, finding an application that solved a specific need meant a Google search. Then navigating through a bunch of sites trying to find the best option. Many sites are poorly written reviews by people that have probably never used the software and are just after page views. Other’s may be promoting software because the kickback the get from affiliate links and not necessarily because they genuienly recommend it.1 Sadly, these are the ones that are usually good at SEO and creep to the top of search engine results. Meanwhile, you could easily miss the true gems. It was a nightmare trying to decide.

On top of that, once you bought an application, you needed to store the serial numbers and download links (or installers). Who is good at that?

With the Mac App Store, finding good software is much easier. There’s no need to think about serial numbers. And installing in multiple machines is not only easy, but legal.2

I’m slowly repurchasing all software on the Mac App Store just to make my life easier. It great now that syncing actually works efforlessly and I have multiple computers again.

Here’s an interesting thing that happened this week. I got an email promoting a software bundle. It was the typical US$49 deal that gets you 8 apps worth 10 times the price. There were only 3 apps that I wanted and one I already owned. The rest I didn’t care for.

I thought about it, but after considering it I just bought the 3 apps I wanted directly from the Mac App Store. Yes, it did cost me more. A whooping US$19 more. And you know what? I’m happy about that.

As I’ve mentioned, buying these apps through the Mac App Store gives me several advantages:

  • It’s easy (which is, in itself, worth more than $20 bucks)
  • I don’t have to store or remember serial numbers
  • I can use them in all my computers without issues
  • I get to really support the developers

That last point is important, even if Apple’s international pricing sucks .

I honestly don’t know how bundles work, but I assume each developer gets a tiny cut of the US$49 sale price. If there are 8 applications included, that means each one gets, at most, US$6.13. That, my friends, is crap. These guys work hard to bring us good software and we should be proud of paying for it.

So, I like the Mac App Store. I don’t think I’ll buy software “the old way” anymore unless I absolutely have to.


  1. I have nothing against affiliate marketing, in fact I think it’s an awesome way to both get your product out there and reward the people that help you. I use it myself. Unfortunately, many bloggers abuse this and promote products they don’t know just to get the commission. That, to me, is unacceptable. If you’re going to recommend something to your readers I think you have the obligation of knowing the product and being honest about your opinions.

  2. The license on software sold through the Mac App Store allows you to install it in as many computers as you want as long as they’re all yours and are all using the same Apple ID. Whereas software bought elsewhere can be different, often allowing installation only on one machine.