THE APP ECONOMY GOES BUST

Millions of apps, and they're all free

Who remembers the Dotcom boom of 20 years ago? Which was followed by the ‘Dotbomb’ crash, as the bubble burst. Well, the ‘App Economy’ is proving to be a repeat of that episode.

That’s the thing about apps. They’re just useful websites, content or services, packaged in a convenient, device-friendly way. Most apps need the web to work, but that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? The network is the computer.

The big problem was when app developers began to see all those dollar signs flashing before their eyes; from Facebook games to an IPO – what could be simpler? Let me kindle your memory: “Farmville.” Did your eyes glaze over?

And the big players, the real founding fathers of this madness, like Apple, set the ground rules – 30% of revenue sounds like a good number. And so the App Economy was born, and the bubble grew. Soon every conceivable service, content or utility was ‘apped’. You couldn’t operate as a rock band or a tax consultant without an app; even though everything in apps was already there on the web, if you knew where to find it.

‘Freemium’ was the next rallying cry! The basic app is free, but for a dollar or two you can get premium content and service. Turns out most people were happy with the free service, thank you very much, and the intrusive nature of the premium apps, with their constant notifications and continual up-selling of ‘in-app purchases’ was just too much to bear.

Now there are 100 million apps at least; all free, and only a handful of gems. Savvy users know that apps waste time and space on their devices. A couple of quick links and favorites is all you need. Anything else can just be Googled.

Warning: Hazardous thinking at work

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