Apple appears to be breaking its own digital-download policy to make some customers happy by giving refunds to those who are displeased with Final Cut Pro X.
Apple has an "all sales and rentals of products are final" rule as part of its iTunes and App Store policy, but it appears the company is quietly making an exception for its new $299 video-editing software.
A number of users in an Apple support discussions thread are reporting success in getting a refund on their purchase of Final Cut Pro X after writing in to complain that the software did not meet their expectations, The Next Web reported today.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether this is a blanket exception to its App Store rules.
Apple released Final Cut Pro X last week, and in the process, replaced the version of the software that was available as part of the Final Cut Studio product. The new version of the video-editing application is a complete rewrite from the old one, and is missing a number of features video professionals have been quite vocal about, the main one being the capability to open and edit project files from previous versions of Final Cut. As a result, it's been the butt of a joke on late-night TV, and has spurred a petition seeking to bring back the previous version of the software.
While the official iTunes terms and conditions are very clear about not offering refunds, Apple's Mac App Store FAQ notes that users should first contact developers if they "experience a technical issue with an app," and if that fails, to contact Apple. In this case, Apple is both of those parties. In e-mails from Apple support personnel on successful refunds, the company notes that it's making an exception.
Refunds on digital goods continue to be one of the big differences among digital application stores. While Apple, Microsoft, and Research In Motion all maintain an "all sales are final" policy, Google gives buyers a short grace period after making a purchase. Google's Android and Chrome Web Store efforts offer users a 15- and 30-minute window, respectively, to return an application for a full refund from the time they downloaded it. Application developers on the two platforms are also able to issue refunds after the window has closed. The stakes in this case, with a piece of software that costs several hundred dollars instead of 99 cents, can be much higher.