/ February 17, 2010

Disrupting a market, one iPhone app at a time


cc licensed flickr photo shared by Dean+Barb

A month ago, we were so excited about the release of a new iPhone App, BarMax CA, we just had to write about it. While it grabbed headlines for being the most expensive app in the iTunes store ($999), we were more excited about its potential for disrupting the bar prep market.

It appears the little-app-that-could has done just that.  As TechCrunch just reported, the bar prep giant BarBri, a live bar prep course that costs few thousand dollars more than BarMax, has responded with two major changes that poor, stressed-out, potential attorneys should really like.

For one, BarBri is now giving users “unlimited online access” to users.  The second, more substantial change is that BarBri will now allow folks who didn’t pass the bar to re-take the course, instead of paying a couple thousand dollars more (talk about kicking you when you’re down).  Of course, these are two things that BarMax could already boast—you bought the app, you keep the app.

Coolest of all, BarMax has responded with genuine excitement about these changes.  While this response is probably a good PR move either way, you get the feeling that BarMax isn’t only trying to provide a valuable product and make a profit, they truly want to improve the bar prep market by disrupting it.

As we noted last time, we’re all for tech-savvy alternatives that make your research easier and more affordable, plus add competition to a market that needs it.  Don’t have an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch? No problem—you can rent an iPod Touch from BarMax.  Now that’s lowering the bar.

From the few reviews on the iTunes Store, it sounds like BarMax CA is an intuitive, functional app.  Of course, we’ll know more after folks take the CA Bar exam next week.  And while the bar prep app is only for the CA Bar right now, they’ve also just released a $500 MBE app. Sounds like they’re expanding.  With BarBri already a bit spooked, it will be interesting to see just how competitive this market can become.

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