Friday, June 5, 2009

 

FMTouch Developer License - Publish your solution to iTunes

FMWebschool is working on a solution that allows you to publish your FileMaker application to the iTunes App store. We are working on the documentation that will tell you exactly what you need to do.

What will the developer version do?

The developer version of FMTouch will enable you to bundle your solution with FMTouch and sell it at whatever price point you desire. Your customer will NOT need to buy FMTouch separately.

* You will need to apply for an Apple developers license (usually takes about 24 hours)
* You will have to submit your application to Apple and go through the same approval process that everyone else goes through.
* FMWebschool is going to create a couple basic solutions bundled with FMTouch and submit them to the App store to see if there are any gotchas. This will help us with documentation and improve our bundling process.
* Customers buying your product will not have to have FileMaker Pro - but if you provide a desktop version - they will be able to sync to that version.

Price Points Open to discussion
(Please don't just say "Too high or Too Low" we need a good discussion)

We would like to discuss price points with everyone as this will enable everyone to bundle their solutions and sell them to all Apple iTunes visitors. Remember this puts your App online, worldwide without you having to write or learn any code.

You could create a FileMaker solution, bundle it with FMTouch and then sell it on the Apple App store for $4.99

Developing such a license will affect our sales of FMTouch as we will lose a lot of Enterprise sales where companies buy 50-100 copies of FMTouch at a time.

So these are the price points that we are considering.

Basic Development License $297 - This will enable you to bundle once FileMaker application with FMTouch and sell it on the iTunes store.

Pro Development License $497 - Allows you to bundle up to 5 FileMaker solutions with FMTouch and sell on the iTunes store.

Unlimited Development License $997 - Allows you to bundle as many apps as you like with FMTouch and sell on the iTunes store.

Further Explanation

You would basically be able to create a FileMaker application, bundle it with FMTouch and sell it as your own application without having to learn Objective C, X-Code etc...

All profits would be yours paid to you by Apple, Inc., and you would pay no royalties to FMWebschool.


Further help with Apple Developer License - App Submission Etc...

For developers that would like help with the process of getting their Apple developers license and submitting an application for the first time (as well as help with bundling) we will offer a service where we will do this for you for $197.

We've built several applications, FMTouch, a Battleship App, and a game called WaitAndPlay" so we know our way around the App store and what is required.

Please, we would like your comments on the pricing, and we will let you know how our bundling testing and Apple approval goes.

In Kindness
The team at FMWebschool

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Comments:
A good point was emailed to me, and yes we will continue to honor bonuses for our beta testers. Beta testers you will receive an email with reduced pricing - as a special thanks for all of your help!
 
we're looking to replacing a clients FileMaker/Palm based system with FileMaker/iPhones/FMtouch - they are customs agents and use the Palms for onsite inventory capture - we need a developer version of FMtouch [which you now seem to have addressed] and then a user runtime version - sold 'naked' through iTunes to which we sync our 'code'.
 
The pricing is okay and fair. I'll propably start out with a version for 5 apps and see how it works out on iTunes. But I have one question; will the dev. version have the possibility to use the whole screen size without the FMTouch Controls? This would be just perfect.
 
Your pricing structure sounds fair, but I have a few questions.
The basic pkg, is that a one time only bundle or unlimited for one solution? Lets say for example, I only have two solutions, at present, that are fit to use with FMTouch. If I were to purchase the basic pkg, bundle it and sell it, then update it a few months later, would I need to purchase another basic pkg?

Can we buy up? In other words, if I buy the basic pkg, can I, within a reasonable amount of time, pay the difference to purchase the Pro or Unlimited pkg?

What if Apple won't approve the solution? Can we submit the solution to apple first, then purchase your license?
 
Hi everyone - here is how we are seeing the solution working - and an explanation how Apple works.

A. Apple does not provide us with any of the information as to who has purchased FMTouch - we only get a number of sales and dollar amount - and location. So we cannot do any follow up emails with any of our customers.

B. The only way that we can get follow up information is if they go to our site and join our mailing list. So it is hard for us to send them to the FMTouch App store since we do not have their email address.

C. By allowing developers such as yourself to sell your application on the iTunes store - you suddenly have an audience of millions instead of the few people we can bring into the App store.

D. We cannot promise that your solution will sell - Michael and I are going to run some test solutions on the iTunes store to see what kind of response we get. This way we should have some more solid information.

E. You can choose the dollar amount to sell your app on the iTunes store - Apple will take 30% of your gross profit.

F. Yes we will definitely create upgrade paths and we will take care of our Beta Testers as well with some great incentives.
 
For individuals that will be providing upgrades to their products, you will not need to buy another license. You would use the same license to provide upgrades.

We will provide an upgrade path - we will test a couple applications first and then post exact details as to how to proceed.
 
I think this is an awesome idea. I think the single license version doesn't make a lot of sense and the unlimited seems a little high to me since Filemaker Advanced which does unlimited runtimes is around $500. I know your resources are a bit different but it still seems high to me. I would eliminate the single license and set the 5 license version around that $300-$400 dollar range and then do the unlimited in the $500-$700 range. If you need to do the single make it at @$200. Also, a low penalty upgrade option would be a must for me.

Just my 2 cents. If the pricing stays as is, I would probably just buy the single to start with and see how it goes. If you brought it down a little, I would likely jump right to the 5 user or maybe even unlimited if it seemed reasonable enough for me.

Again, awesome idea! This will make a great path for those who want an easy to use App development system without having to learn Cocoa. Thanks for letting us provide input.
 
I think this is a fantastic idea. I second the opinion that the price points are reasonable. However, If there are multiple databases in the solution, would that still be considered one app?

I'm still struggling with rewriting scrips and calculations from my main database to be compatible with FMTouch's scripts and calculations, but right now it is easier for me to write four separate apps that aren't relational, rather than rewrite the main app's tricks so that all of my Case functions or conditional formatting work on the iPhone. That puts me in the middle Tier just for this particular solution, when I would rather be in the first Tier.
 
Still a bit confused....and if this is not the right place to discuss this pls let me know.
FMtouch is AU$90 per copy at the AppStore. I understand that with the developer bundling I could pay US$297 for a single licence add my DDR [solution] and sell it at the AppStore for [say] US$5.
I don't want to sell at the AppStore simply give [sell] the client [say] 10 copies for use on 10 iPhones to do field data collection...currently this would cost AU$900....10 copies of fmTouch plus the cost of my FMpro database....quite a hurdle!
Perhaps the developer licence and then a 'runtime' FMtouch...which needed a 'code' from the developer version...from the AppStore to which I would load my DDR might be one answer?
 
Hi Peter, Hi Oz,

Here is what we are trying to work out. Currently Apple does not make it easy at all for individuals to buy multiple copies of FMTouch or any other business application that companies would like to buy in multiple quantities.

They do offer a license that you can apply for that allows you to distribute up to 100 Adhoc copies of your solution. The cost is either $99 dollars and usually takes about 24 hours to get approval.

You could then buy FMTouch Enterprise license or Adhoc copies from us at a reduced price. It would then be up to you to redistribute.

Now, here is the part that we are trying to resolve:

Here is where FMWebschool stands to lose a lot of money with the Developer versions - but it will help the community.

We have quite a few companies that get Developer Licenses from Apple and then buy 50-100 copies of FMTouch - usually around $2000 -$4000 dollars for this sale.

By making the developer versions available, we suddenly could potentially lose thousands of dollars. We rely on our enterprise sales to pay for programming costs, testing, support and advertising.

Companies that would have potentially paid us a few thousand for multiple copies would only have to pay a few hundred - and then sell on the iTunes store.

We are talking with a lot of people about price points where we do not shoot ourselves in the foot. We need to be able to keep up steady updates, bug fixes and provide excellent customer support - all of which come with a pretty hefty price tag.

And as we release developer versions, I can quickly foresee even more support as we help developers release their products and as we have to train individuals how to go through the Apple iTunes App Store release process which is no walk in the park.

Here is what we are looking into:

* Increased cost of support
* Loss of income from Enterprise customers
* More documentation for Developers
* Providing assistance through the Apple approval process


I do thank you all for your comments - and we will continue to plug them all into our decision process and work out a plan that works for everyone!
 
I think that the price points are quite reasonable for the following reasons.

1. It would be conceivable that a qualified iPhone programmer would cost at A$100/hr (that is an estimate), which for the course of the building of that app could easily take 10 hours, not including updates, fixes etc.

2. Considering this fact the ability to build an app in a couple of hours and submit it to Apple for approval in a day is an incredible opportunity.

3. This opens up whole new possibilities for solution for clients when you consider that you could use the iPhone app as a value add for a solution that you already have using Filemaker Pro.

4. There is the possibility to earn lots of $$$ from sales on the AppStore if you have a Application that solves a problem.

All these reasons make it a good investment, and as long as the use of graphics in FMTouch is improved that make your solution look similar to a normal Application on the AppStore, you have a winner.
 
I am not cocoa-programmer. So your providing developer licence sounds very fine.

The price is not so wrong. Firstly I felt a little bit high honestly, but after thinking my status that is not able to program by cocoa ....,or about your business situation ,the price is reasonable.

But one question.
What area does this license cover.
For example ,one-year-licence? valid on current iphoneOS?, valid on current FMtouch version?

Anyway I think this idea makes FMtouch will be a kind of plathome on the iphone.Great Idea.
 
I believe the price points are attractive to me as a developer. I understand the "balance" of not shooting yourself in the foot by cannibalizing your own market, yet providing an attractive solution to developers that could assist in extending the reach of the FMTouch solution.

I have had to consider the alternatives in developing an iPhone application myself that can provide the capabilities I need both now and in the future and that you clearly are already focused on. Apart from diverting my attention from my core application development (and supporting it), I will need to acquire additional the necessary skills, which will impact my time-to-market and then there is the challenge of keeping abreast of new developments.

I believe that providing applications using FMTouch gets me there quicker, reduces the risk and increases the opportunities. It is critical that the costs of future development and support of FMTouch are covered otherwise this places me and my clients at risk.

I understand that the model may not work for everyone. As an add-on for my application that significantly addresses a potential barrier for my runtime application, I'm sold. For me the key needs to be keeping it simple - pricing, development and distribution. As I have an application "ready to go", I would love the opportunity of testing this with you.

Glenn
 
Ok. So, is it available ? And what are the final price tags ? And is there bundled support, and at which upgrade path points do we need to start to pay for new versions from you ? And lastly, will you guarantee to maintain your current release to be compatible with the latest iPhone version ?

Also, what's happening with the Blackberry platform ?
 
Hi think there are some applications that could be made on the iphone from filemaker that should be sold for less. I have one of my filemaker applications that should be free for what it does and at the very least .99 cents. I think maybe there should be price points based on that. If it merely retrieves something from a database and that is it. I should be cheaper but a full blow filemaaker intensive thing is different.
 
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