The business model of free tech apps for your phone or other device is quickly ending. Those are all the apps that you can download for free with basic features and the option (and constant push) to upgrade to the paid version. It avoided having to do advertising by getting you the free app in return for continuous pitches to upgrade.
That model has been around for 20 years, but it’s over as investors are pushing the companies to generate some serious revenue. At that point the app will stop working unless you supply your credit card to either buy the full app, or pay a monthly subscription.
Some great health apps recently gave one day notice to upgrade or lose it. Sure enough, the following day the app stopped working. Mailchimp has severely reduced their free app content, Zoom has vastly restricted use, Amazon did the same thing already, Peacock stopping their free streaming version, and a ton of others.
I’ve had it happen on four apps already. One I did spend the $24.00 to purchase it as I would NEVER pay for a subscription – ever. The other three I’ve had to say good-bye to.
This actually started with a security camera company last year: Buy our cameras and you’ll have free lifetime license for the software. Well, one day the app stopped working and they were holding their customers hostage. In that case, they reversed the decision because the “free for life” was in their terms of service. In other words, they were stuck, or were going to be exposed to lawsuits. That’s not the case for most others. Terms of service aren’t geared to be to your benefit.
An entire generation of people who grew up with their phone are getting a rapid reality check and shock. They’ve never experienced having to pay for these apps. That’s quite a rude awakening and the tech companies are hoping they’ll just step up and pay.
So with streaming services subscriptions and the cell bill, add a bunch of app charges and it’s not too hard to imagine vast numbers of people having 12 to 15 monthly charges on their credit card leaking a lot of money out of their wallet.