Microsoft's AI-Powered Bing Google's ChatGPT Rival Hogwarts Legacy Review Ozempic vs. Obesity Best Super Bowl Ads 2023 Honda Accord Hybrid Review OnePlus 11 Phone Review Super Bowl: How to Watch
Want CNET to notify you of price drops and the latest stories?
No, thank you

Reporters' Roundtable: App stores are good for software biz (podcast)

Today we're covering the shift in the software business caused by app stores and the Web. Our guests are experts in the field: Phil Libin, CEO of Evernote, and Jeff Clavier, of SoftTech VC.

The working title for this show was, "How app stores are killing software." But the conversation, with Evernote CEO Phil Libin and SoftTech venture capitalist Jeff Clavier, painted exactly the opposite picture. These two execs, both of whom are making money from software in the current economy, say that the gated, paid app stores are in fact the best things to happen to software developers in years. Watch the show to learn why.

Now playing: Watch this: Will app stores save software?


iTunes (MP3)
iTunes (320x180)
iTunes (640x360)
Podcast RSS (MP3)
Podcast RSS (320x180)
Podcast RSS (640x360)

Show notes and talking points

Compare the software business today to the business in 2000. What are the major differences?

OK, about those app stores...

Software developers used to be able to sell apps for $40. Sell 5,000 copies and you could fund a start-up team of two devs easily. Now apps in app stores go for 99 cents. Can you really make it up in volume?

How is it that apps are selling when online, Web-only services are getting so robust? And as they get more robust, what happens to apps?

What about the rev share to the store owners? How do the stores compare - Apple, Google, others?

Discuss the approval process in app stores. is it bad for innovation? Consumers? Can you have app stores w/o approval process?

It seems game networks and consoles -- Steam, Xbox, Nintendo, etc -- command much higher prices, it's like the old model. How do they get away with it?

Talk about subscription upsells (Evernote model)

In fact, tell us more about how you came up with the rev model for Evernote. What options did you consider?

Advertising support for apps?

On "freemium" software - how much do you give away free? How do you decide what to charge for?

How do you monitor and define success? When do you know you've got the mix right?

What's the future for expensive productivity apps like Office and Photoshop?

Next time:
Artificial life! We're talking about the man-made genome with Dr. Kiki (Kristin Sanford) of the Dr. Kiki's Science Hour podcast, and Mark Bedau, a philosophy professor from Reed College. Do not miss this show!

For updates: Watch me on Twitter (@Rafe).

E-mail comments to, and get all the show notes as well as replays and downloads of the podcast on the blog.