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New Apple Programs Infuriate Developers

To the consternation of software developers, Apple has changed its developer programs to substantially increase pricing while immediately reducing benefits for small developers. Formerly, Apple Developer Associates paid $250 per year and signed non-disclosure agreements to receive monthly developer CD-ROMs, pre-release software seeds, and discounts on Apple hardware used for development. Under Apple’s new Select program, these same developers pay $500 per year and cannot purchase discount hardware, although they are entitled to two "technical support incidents" and a $100 coupon from Metrowerks. Apple’s high-end program has increased from $1,500 to $3,500 per year, and includes access to discount hardware, eight support incidents, a $300 Metrowerks coupon, and a pass to Apple’s annual World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC). Apple has also re-instituted a monthly developer mailing for $200 per year (up from $150), which includes system software, but little else that isn’t available for free via the Internet.

Although a few – very few – programmers argue Apple shouldn’t support developers who can’t handle a $500 yearly fee, history shows that raising the threshold of entry to Macintosh developer programs decreases the amount of software developed. These mid-subscription changes are particularly galling to small developers; they rarely need technical support from Apple, and now must make hardware purchases before the end of April. Further, Metrowerks discount coupons are worthless to programmers using other development environments.

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