Last year, WolframAlpha made waves with its $50 iPhone app; today the company is announcing a new overall strategy and its starting by launching a new mobile optimized website and dropping the price of the iPhone app to just $1.99. This is all part of WolframAlpha’s new strategy to help get its computational knowledge engine into more hands, in hopes that it can become ubiquitous with knowledge discovery.
This new strategy is being led by Barak Berkowitz, the newly appointed Managing Director of WolframAlpha. Berkowitz wants to make WolframAlpha more accessible and make it available on more and more platforms.
The new mobile optimized mobile website, http://m.wolframalpha.com, is one of the first moves towards achieving that goal. Near the end of 2009, WolframAlpha got rid of its iPhone optimized mobile interface. Now the mobile site is back — but it has not only been optimized for use on the iPhone and other touch-screen devices, great care has also gone into making the app accessible for other smartphones and feature phones on 2G, 3G and 4G networks.
Of course, for iPhone owners (and starting on Saturday, iPad owners), the bigger news it that application has dropped from $49.99 and then its sale price of $19.99 to $1.99. However, the even bigger news — from a customer relations standpoint — is that WolframAlpha will be offering refunds to customers who bought the app at a higher price. Yeah. Let me say that again — if you paid $50 or $20 for the app, you can get a refund.
WolframAlpha has set up a special website http://www.wolframalpha.com/iwantmymoneyback for previous owners. Fill out the form and get your money back. Of course, if you feel like you got your $20 or $50 worth, you can always carry on.
As I said when I originally reviewed the app back in October, WolframAlpha shows tons of potential and the iPhone app can really show off a lot of that utility. Now that the app is at a much more affordable price point — and a free mobile web option also exists — there’s a real chance for more and more people to discover what computational knowledge is all about.
It’s not uncommon for companies to decide to lower the prices on a product — but it is unusual for the company to offer refunds to customers who paid more money. Kudos to WolframAlpha for doing that — that’s a stand-up move.
What do you think of the new WolframAlpha mobile site? Does the new price make it more likely that you’ll try the iPhone app? Let us know!