Sophia Teutschler has got herself into quite a pickle:
Charging $5 for this update is fair. I don‘t think, nor did I ever think of, that this is a rip-off. You also have to admit that I‘m definitely not so stupid to break promises by intent. If I thought of that license text I would have simply declared this new version 3.0. Calling me a liar is simply wrong and way over the top.
I’ve seen some of the rage hurled against Sophia about this ‘act of greed’ — most of them were overtly rude. She doesn’t come across as a greedy person; has offered many discounts over the years, even making the app free on multiple occasions. However, I don’t think just because it’s only $5 changes anything. Or that she’s an indie developer and has limited time and resources (in which case the correct resolve would be to reduce the number of projects).
The truth is no one really cares about small bug fixes and minor features to be outraged. No one was demanding CoverSutra updates at the moment. The app works just as good today as it did the day they bought it. There are far more important things to worry about in life than updates to an iTunes controller. Moreover, if one buys version 2.5 from the Mac App Store now, they’ll get 3.0 when it comes out anyway so ultimately users who want to stick around won’t be paying extra. But all those factors are irrelevant to this case, which is breach of contract with existing customers, who might have paid up to $20 for a license.
This is far from that Loren Brichter – Tweetie 2 situation, where it was a brand new version that warranted a new version number and the App Store didn’t support upgrade pricing. This is nearly the same version, with minor feature updates, that can technically still be updated using whatever update system was in place. Pixelmator is doing it. Panic is doing it. I don’t think Apple is going to make you buy iLife ’11 apps again. It’s not such a big effort, considering both the packages are almost exactly the same. I’m not saying it’s greed that made her choose to go App Store only, just bad judgement. Her mistake is in not admitting to it.