BlackBerry App Store, $200 do not pass go, do not upload application.

I work on a BlackBerry app called DopeWars. It’s a silly little app and isn’t going to make me a world of money (it’s free and open source) but it’s fun and my diversion into the BlackBerry/Java world (as painful as the development environment is there, you think SharePoint is tough?). I keep on planning to write more apps but that unfinished project stack keeps getting bigger and bigger and something's gotta give.

So I was all excited when it was announced that BlackBerry would follow in the steps of Apple and their highly successful App Store and offer a BlackBerry App World. Microsoft has done it with the XNA Creators Club and the business model seems like a good deal. Apple gets a cut of the retail price of your app but provides you with exposure and infrastructure. Frankly, the Apple people have it nailed. By sheer attrition, you can put a crap app out there for $2 bucks but with 100,000 people looking at it, you’re bound to make back the time it took you to slap it together. There’s a lot of crap out there and the crap pile just keeps on getting higher.

In any case, they mentioned you could sell or give away your app on the BlackBerry app store. So here I had an open source app that was pretty popular and it would be nice to get some more exposure. Why not?

Remember, this is coming from a guy who’s cheap like no other when it comes to handing out cash to guys that don’t need it. I don’t mind Apple or Microsoft gouging me for a percentage of my profits. They provide me with a service and in exchange I believe they get what is coming to them. I call it the George Lucas attitude to software development. George didn’t ask for a heck of a lot of money for Star Wars, he just asked for all rights to merchandising and let the film company in on a percentage of the profits. Future stars like Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford were given royalty cuts in the profits. And frankly that made them a boatload of money.

So I’m no George Lucas, but I do feel that letting the big guy take a chunk in order to let the little guy survive is key. Indie developers are just that. Indie. Like independent recording artists, they don’t have a heck of a lot of cash to toss around for “studio time” so it’s done as a barter system. I’m quite happy to exchange a small percentage of profits with Apple for 10,000,000 users even remotely considering my app or being exposed to it. And here I thought RIM would be the same.

Apparently not.

As I waded through the myriad of agreements and checkboxes, I reached the elusive Step 3 of 4 for filling out the vendor application. No problem I thought. I’ve done this a million times before with Apple, Microsoft and others. Then I hit the wall. The cash grab. The money pit.Toy-Story-Little-Green-Men-without-claw-753073

RIM wants $200 (USD) as an “administration fee” to complete registration. Yup. No $200, no passing go, no uploading free application to app store. Thank you, come again.


RIM is a Canadian company and here they are asking for US dollarinos. First insult.

You’re paying $200 for the “privilege” of submitting only 10 applications. Oh yeah, and that doesn’t actually mean you’ll get it approved. If it gets rejected (this is the good part) it “will be counted against your ten application submissions”. Second insult. Apparently RIM is the gatekeeper for apps and, like the Claw they decide who will go and who will stay. And it’ll only cost you $20 to find out.

The final insult. The kicker. To upgrade an application it counts as a new submission against your 10. Yeah, that’s right kids. I create 2 or 3 versions of my application and submit it (assuming it gets accepted, no word on what the standard for acceptance/rejection is) and I’ve gobbled up 1/3 of my original 10 applications and essentially blown $60. Sure, you want to submit more than 10 versions or applications? No problem, we’ll kindly take your $200 again. Got rejected? Awwww. We’ll let you submit it again. It’ll only cost you $20 a shot.

Frankly, this is the nerd equivalent of crack cocaine, but without the benefits.

Okay, at the end of the day it’s your choice. I’m sure a lot of you are reading this thinking “What a jerk, don’t pay it then and stop bitching”. Don’t shoot me. I’m just the messenger and putting it out there for others that might think this new way of delivering apps is for them. Needless to say I’m passing on BlackBerry app store as far as being a vendor. I’m quite happy with my silly little app living up on SourceForge and the 10 users seeing it.

Buyer beware, Caveat Emptor, and all that good stuff. Feel free to hand your coins over to RIM if you want, just understand that IMHO RIM’s BlackBerry version of App Store isn’t for indie developers. YMMV.


  • Nice, good for RIMM if they could pull this off-and Microsoft should learn this money grabbing trick and charge for each service pack:)

  • Wow - that's probably the most stupid way anyone could have dreamt up for ensuring that the iPod will continue to wipe the floor with RIM. That takes real (mis)talent. Do you think the person who dreamt it up was an Apple secret agent :-)

  • Have to agree... Are Blackberry / RIM stupid? I thought they wanted the Blackberry App World to grow. No chance now. And this will just mean an absolute win for iphone over BB in the long run. I have a BB too so not good news !!

  • I just ran into this now. Made me lolcry. Paying the 99 bucks + buying a mac is looking a hell of a lot more appealing to me now to get into the iPhone app store.

  • I totally agree
    These fees are pilling up and at the end of the day what happens is app world users get less apps and usually older versions of the app comparing to other stores

    How can BlackBerry compete with iPhone if they don't help app developers publish their apps ?

  • So it is $20 per submission. I'll agree that isn't ideal, but is $20 really such a big deal? I do agree with you on the rejection thing though. Submitting to fix a rejection shouldn't count against your credits.

  • This is the worst thing RIM can do to BB developers. I was also thinking put my app for free on app world but paying 200$ for a free app, huh!!! I'm not in any mood for such charity. Come on man, this is disgusting. Add to this all the pain i've gone through (norm to any BB developer) I wonder who are those guys who fell into RIM's trap even further.

    By the way how do you rate MobiHand or other appstores for BB? Which one you have tried?

  • wow, is this still the way RIM is running App World? I understand of RIM wants to take a cut of your profits for apps you sell like you said Apple does . . . but don't they realize that if they made it easy for people to submit apps that it would help their business?

  • I don't know what vendor portal you are using but you must be a complete muppet, I am uploading paid apps and they are not charging me a penny, so its all profit for me! Maybe your on the wrong site or its a phishing attempt but in my experience it has always been free to vend from the blackberry app world.... In fact there was a point that if you upload an android app to the app world they gave you a free playbook! So why would they charge 200 dollars and then give you a free playbook? Seems odd, maybe your another person trying to diss rim.

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