We’ve had other discussions about how for some luxury goods, the exorbitant price is part of the value (see $300,000 watches that only tell you whether it’s day or night).
Meanwhile, as some of you may have heard, Apple launched a new iPhone, along with the AppStore, which allows iPhone owners to install applications, much like you can buy music through iTunes. Prices for most apps range from free to $9.99 (see this post from Pinch Media with price distribution).
Bringing these two storylines together, someone wrote an iPhone application called I Am Rich, which simply displayed a ruby-like gem. The software cost $999.99, the highest price point that Apple currently permits in the AppStore. According the author, the I Am Rich application “always reminds you (and others when you show it to them) that you were rich enough to afford this.” Nothing like a little humor.
It turns out that Apple does not find this amusing, and removed the application from the AppStore. ZD Net writer Jason O’Grady thinks the cause may be angry customers who did not really mean to buy the application.
Tricking someone into buying something they did not mean to purchase is not good, on a number of levels. (Reminds me of the Dilbert cartoon where the team discusses charging a million dollars with a $999,999 rebate. “We only need one person to forget to send in their rebate form.”) At the same time, conspicuous consumption is a pretty big driver of the economy. Anyone know how many people actually bought “I Am Rich”?
Edit: Apparently, 8 people bought it. That means about $5,600 for the developer, after Apple takes a 30% take. My guess is that’s a lot more money than most of the $1.99 apps have made.