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Why is Apple Charging $0.99 for FaceTime for Mac?

Why is Apple Charging $0.99 for FaceTime for Mac?

Due to Accounting requirements, Apple is charging people with older Macs 99 cents to purchase the FaceTime 1.0 app which has just been released on the Mac App Store.

Related Reads:

  • Apple Releases FaceTime 1.0 on Mac App Store with HD Support

FaceTime beta was free but the final version of the app is priced at $0.99 and free for newer Macs. This is not a huge price at all and everyone can afford it. Still it has bewildered a lot of people and they have been wondering why it’s not free. Some even went about calling Steve Jobs a liar when he said FaceTime is going to be an open technology. So this is why apple is charging us for FaceTime, as observed by us and Dan Moren.

Facetime 1 1

Macworld’s Dan Moren has confirmed that Apple’s charging us because of an Accounting requirement,

Apple told me that the FaceTime $1 charge for existing Mac users is regulatory related (remember the $2 802.11n patch circa 2007?).

The same had also happened when Apple had released the firmware upgrade for the first generation iPod Touch.

The whole point is that if a feature, not announced at the time of sale, is released at a later time the company is required to either charge a small fee or restate its past earnings to retroactively delay recognition of a tiny slice of revenue from each past machine sale.

That explains how the new Macbook Pros introduced today by Apple can have this app for no charge at all.

{ 5 comments… add one }

  • arw February 25, 2011, 5:20 am

    I don’t totally buy the argument as stated. It might be an interpretation of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act or whatever, but I cannot see why it would hold up in court. If a company wants to give away something for free, that’s their business. So what if a freebie might make a previous product more desirable. The government needs to clarify this once and for all.

  • jsk February 25, 2011, 5:21 am

    Which, of course, explains why iPod touch users were charged for the update to iOS v4 and v4.2. Oh, wait, they weren’t.

  • Rajat February 25, 2011, 5:55 am

    @arw im sure with these many instances, the government will declare a final rule with little ambiguity.

  • RG February 25, 2011, 5:29 pm

    For this argument to be valid, wouldn’t apple also have to charge everyone for the Mac App Store App, as this is a new feature that was not present at the original time of sale!?!?!?

  • Brett February 25, 2011, 6:56 pm

    This is nothing new. Apple often bundles software with new Macs that they otherwise charge for. Garageband anyone?

    Open does not necessarily mean free to the enduser. What Steve meant when he said that Facetime was “open”, was that it was based on standard protocols. This means that other companies can offer Facetime without having to license the technology from Apple. I’m a little surprised this hasn’t happened yet. Maybe once the iPad2 comes out there will be a critical mass of Facetime-capable devices sufficient to interest other manufacturers in jumping on the bandwagon.

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