Today, we finally transferred Where To? to our own iTunes account. From now on, the vendor name is not incorrectly stated as “Sophiestication Software” anymore. After more than 6 months of waiting for Apple (and after numerous discussions with various Apple folks) to resolve the issue of transferring an iPhone App in the App Store, we finally resorted to publishing Where To as a new app under our account and removing it from sale of Sophia’s account. This procedure unfortunately causes the purchaser history to be lost since Apple does not provide any buyer details to us.

Why not wait until the next version?
Good question. Obviously it would make perfect sense to wait with the transfer until the upcoming Where To 2.0 with exciting new functionality is out. Unfortunately, this was not an option because our contract with Sophia to use her iTunes vendor account expires by end of this month. Sophia was not willing to negotiate the expiration date. So we are in a position of either killing Where To completely or doing this. Clearly, this isn’t the way I prefer to do things because it’s against my understanding of respecting customers, but I simply had no choice in this situation, unfortunately.

What does this mean for me as a (potential) new customer?
New customers who purchase Where To from now on will automatically be eligible for a free upgrade to the upcoming Where To 2.0. Think of it as a grace period for a free upgrade that begins now.

What does this mean for me as an existing customer?
First, the existing version of Where To in the FutureTap account is exactly the same as the version in the “Sophiestication Software” account.
Second, we are working to offer a price-reduced upgrade path to version 2.0 for current Where To owners who purchased it from the seller tap tap tap or Sophiestication Software.
While we know this is surprising and nasty for you, we had to take this unevitable step at some time although we delayed it as much as possible. So depending on your purchase date, you received a whole lot of updates for free. Only the next major version will be a paid upgrade. Please subscribe to this blog and/or follow us on Twitter to stay informed.

You mentioned Where To 2.0. Will it be cool?
Absolutely! We integrated a ton of new features in Where To 2.0. Most requested, the map will be built-in leveraging iPhone OS 3.0. Switching apps is no longer necessary. Then, the results automatically update while moving. Overall we think it’ll be an amazing update that you’ll absolutely love! Follow us on Twitter to watch some sneak peeks from our labs soon and to be the 1st to know when it’s available!

13 Comments

  • michiel Houtman

    wrote on June 23, 2009 at 2:17pm

    great you have finally managed to find a solution to bring where to? in your own itunes account. if you need further help for version 2.0 and further, don’t hesitate to contact me.

  • Will Robertson

    wrote on June 23, 2009 at 2:18pm

    It’s too bad Apple wouldn’t let you transfer the app from one account to another. It seems like that shouldn’t have been a terribly complex thing to do on Apple’s part.

  • malissalu

    wrote on June 24, 2009 at 2:07am

    “Sophia was not willing to negotiate the expiration date.”
    What a shocker…It’s a shame that she remains just as much a witch as always and makes you guys look like the bad guy. As John said in the “tap tap tap” entry, “some things never change”.

    I wish you guys the best with this app. I’ll purchase it again now that it will be supporting you and not Sophia.
    Looking forward to some great new features.

  • Joseph

    wrote on June 24, 2009 at 3:35am

    To be honest, I’m really disappointed that I’m going to have to repurchase “Where To?” I was one of the loyal early customers and when I got it I didn’t think too highly of the app. Design was great but the features and functionality, lacking or redundant. I followed it closely because the team behind it looked like one of the most promising at the time. I’ve followed this saga from the beginning, and while unfortunate, the customer should not be the one to come up with the short end of the stick due to things beyond their control. I’ve waited and waited for some kind of substantial update to “Where To?” and, sorry, but dozens of localizations is not what I’ve had in mind. Now with the new API’s you are given the tools to truly breathe new life into this app and you have decided that that rebirth won’t come at any kind of discount to the previous customers. I know your hands are tied but at least providing a small window of time that customers could purchase “Where To?” for free might one of the few ways to wrong this right.

  • Ortwin Gentz

    wrote on June 24, 2009 at 8:50am

    @Joseph, first: thank you for being a loyal customer! As mentioned in my post, we’re working to offer a price-reduced upgrade path to version 2.0 for current Where To owners. Please be patient until 2.0 is ready.

  • Ortwin Gentz

    wrote on June 24, 2009 at 1:33pm

    @anonymous: I deleted your comment. It’s not about censorship of specific content (in this case saying bad things about Sophia) but we only accept comments you can stand behind with your good name. I invite you to repost mentioning your name. E-Mail addresses are not published but might be used to verify the authenticity.

  • Maxim

    wrote on June 24, 2009 at 7:26pm

    I purchased Where To? days after it came out. The app looked great, but was pretty disappointing in functionality. With the release of OS 3.0, I hoped you would use the Maps API to make the app more functional. Looks like that will be the case, but unfortunately I will not benefit, as it does not seem prudent to buy something twice. After all, “less loyal” customer get the update free.

    Why the disincentive here? I understand that there may not be a lot you can do (actually, you could offer the app for free for a couple of days to everyone, which would cost sales but buy goodwill; you could also offer redemption codes to past customer), but understand that it is also not my problem. This tarnishes the FutureTap brand in my mind, and I hope you do the right thing by your past customers.

  • Geoff

    wrote on June 25, 2009 at 10:47pm

    Yes, I have to agree this is messed up. I downloaded the app when it first came out. Recently upgraded to 3.0, lost everything, and was just trying to download back my old adds which I had bought before. I was charged 2.99 again for this app thinking I would be able to just re download it for free. Also looks like from reading this I will get charged again for the upgrade. Most likely going to dispute this charge and remove the app completely. You guys should really consider a more customer friendly approach.

  • Ortwin Gentz

    wrote on June 25, 2009 at 11:32pm

    @Maxim: as I said, we’re working to offer a price-reduced upgrade path to version 2.0 for current, loyal Where To owners. Please stay tuned, we’ll come up with more info when 2.0 is ready.

    @Geoff: I sincerely apologize for this unfortunate situation. The App Store should definitely notify the customer of a free re-download before and not after asking for the purchase confirmation. (We’ll post an issue in Apple’s bug tracker.) Rest assured though that you won’t be charged again when 2.0 comes out. All buyers after June 23 will not be charged again for the new version.

    Let me stress once again, we tried hard to work with Apple to retain the customer history when transferring the app into our account. Unfortunately Apple was completely overstrained with this issue. Apparently a transfer keeping customer history is just not possible with their back end system.

  • Ron

    wrote on July 2, 2009 at 7:01pm

    It’s sad, but Apple has become the Big Brother that the PC never was.

  • Greg

    wrote on July 13, 2009 at 10:52pm

    Geez, you guys, stop whining. It’s 3 dollars. You can’t buy an app for a PC that says “Hello World” for $3. I am hesitant to spend even $1 on an app sight unseen. But if you already know you like it, then $3 is practically nothing.

  • Rich

    wrote on July 17, 2009 at 4:33am

    You should make it clear at the very top of the apps description in the app store and in the info on the update:

    ***IF YOU PURCHASED THIS APP PREVIOUSLY AND DOWNLOAD THE UPDATE YOU WILL BE CHARGED $2.99 AGAIN! DO NOT DOWNLOAD IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO BE CHARGED AN ADDITIONAL $2.99***

    Unfortunately for me, no such warning existed and when I saw the update on my phone and thought “great let’s pull it down and see what’s new” I then downloaded over the air on my phone (I’d purchased a while back) and was charged for the app AGAIN! No warning, nothing just an unexpected charge.

    Surely you value your clients more than this?

    Rich

  • Ortwin Gentz

    wrote on July 17, 2009 at 8:35am

    @Rich, as I said before, I sincerely apologize that the App Store right now doesn’t issue a “it will be free” notice before the purchase. See the bugreport we submitted to Apple.

    I’m wondering though if Where To was presented to you as an update in the update section of the App Store app. To my knowledge this is not possible because Apple maintains no relationship between Where To under the old and the new account.

    To make you go a bit easier: By purchasing the app under the FutureTap account, you’re eligible for a free update to the upcoming Where To 2.0. This will greatly increase the value of the app and I’m sure you won’t be disappointed!

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