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Palm retrospectively discounts developer fees

Not desperate or anything, really

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Not content with halving the price of applications, Palm has dropped its $50 listing fee too, and will be refunding fees already paid.

Developers were notified by email, and many passed the message on to Pre Central. Some developers fear that the price cut will lead to a rush of spam-based applications, while others reckon it was the listing fee that held these at bay.

Palm cut the US prices of most of the applications in the App Catalog a couple of weeks back, and recently extended that sale until 23 July. It seems that's still not generating enough interest, so now Palm has decided to stop charging $50 to list applications, and has refunded those who had already stumped up the cash.

The sale not only means Palm isn't making money on applications, but as the company still pays the developer 70 per cent of the original price it actually has to pay out cash for every application sold. But given that the sale has been extended twice now, Palm obviously considers the costs worthwhile.

Palm was making some of that back from listing fees, but now it's handed those back to the developers who paid them. Developers still have to pay $99 to sign up, but once they've done that signing and listing are free, paving the way for an App Catalog awash with advertising wrapped up in applications just like the iTunes store before it.

And that's part of the problem – developers might complain that removing the per-listing fee will open the way for application-spam, but running an application store brimming with utter tosh hasn't done Apple any harm. In fact people seem to love it and take pride in the quantity of tat available for their brand of smartphone.

Waiving the fee and extending the sale are both indications that Palm (or rather HP) has a long-term interest in selling applications and by extension in WebOS as a platform, which should do more to encourage developers than the removal of a $50 fee. ®

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