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Mobile Apps

iOS devs can now sell their apps to other devs

Apple has introduced a new feature to iOS developers: the ability to finally transfer ownership of an app.

Apple has introduced a new feature to iOS developers: the ability to finally transfer ownership of an app.

(Screenshot by Michelle Starr/CNET Australia)

We've of course seen apps bought and sold before — such as EA's buyout of Popcap, and Zynga's purchase of OMGPop — but eagle-eyed iTunes users might have noticed that although the app is no longer owned by the original developer, it still appears on the iTunes store under the original developer's name.

That's because Apple previously didn't allow the transfer of an app between developers. The app could, of course, be taken down and relisted, as occurred with the Oxford dictionary suite of apps, but this means the app is listed as entirely new, meaning previous users have to re-purchase (or, in the case of the Oxford apps, emailing the new publisher for access). For the developer, it meant either leaving the app under the old publisher's name, or losing the entire previous app userbase.

According to Venturebeat, that all changed this week, with Apple updating its policy to allow developers to sell their apps to other companies. This is great news for devs who no longer wish to have control of an app they have sold, having to take care of app updates and customer service — and great for companies that want to tap into developer talent without hiring a dev team.

It also means that customers looking for a set of apps — such as Draw Something and Draw Something 2 — will be able to find them all under the one publisher page.

The transfer can be accomplished pretty easily in iTunes Connect, Venturebeat has reported. All a developer has to do is update the app's state, notify the purchaser and accept the transfer.