On Eternal Storms’ software and the Mac App Store

Dear reader, honored customer.

I’m sure you’ve noticed – the Mac App Store is upon us. Finally.

What a great idea, a great, comfortable way to purchase software (and to sell, for developers). I’m excited. I hope you are, too.

Now, you might have noticed that flickery, well, really none of my software, is on it, yet.

There is a good reason for it:
There’s this whole dilemma about not being able to transfer existing customers over to the Mac App Store. That is a big deal. And it’s confusing as well, because some apps show as “Installed” even though they were not purchased on the App Store. So people naturally assume they are able to update that version through the Mac App Store. That is, sadly, not the case.

Here’s what I’d like to do:
flickery is “close” to version 2.0. “Close” because it’s only close in version numbers (the current version is 1.9.2), not in execution/development.
I’m planning to go Mac App Store exclusive with flickery with version 2.0! 
Now there’s a caveat for existing customers. On my website, I currently promise that users who purchase flickery get a discount on version 2.0. With the Mac App Store, I can not keep that promise, because it doesn’t have an “upgrade” model.

So I’d like to put it in my customers hands:
Would you be offended if I moved to the Mac App Store exclusively and you and didn’t get that discount for version 2.0 of flickery? Please leave a message in the comments, mail me, tweet me or write me on facebook to let me know what you think. I will decide by majority of votes.

New software by me will be exclusive to the Mac App Store as well (new software as in the upcoming rewrite of GimmeSomeTune, ProjectX and ProjectiX.)

What’s the difference for the user?

  • Keep informed on updates
  • A centralized place for your software
  • Easy updating and installing
  • They have to have OS X 10.6.6 at least to run software
  • The security that they get quality software
  • A ton of other things I’m probably not thinking of right now

What’s the difference for the developer?

  • Having to maintain only one version of their software
  • This is a very big deal, because time is precious and better spent on new features / new software.
  • Centralized updates – yes, it’s also a plus for the developer
  • Higher visibility to the user

To summarize:
I’d like to go Mac App Store exclusive with all my software. Starting with flickery 2.0 when it is available (quite a couple of months off – and there surely will be other updates before that which will not appear on the Mac App Store but through the current updating mechanism). To do that, I’d have to break my promise to give the existing customers a discount on the upgrade.

Future software not yet released will appear on the Mac App Store exclusively, as well. That means that all my software will require Mac OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.6 at the least. So, please let me know what you think about that in the comments, by mail, twitter or facebook.

I hope I’ve covered about all of what’s important in this regard.

Thank you for your time,

Sincerely,
Matthias

10 thoughts on “On Eternal Storms’ software and the Mac App Store

  1. I personally think the switch to the App Store is a good idea.
    An upgrade price for excisting customers to 2.0 sounds good. Only think I’m not too happy with is that I’ve bought flickery only last week, or the week before. If I had to pay already for an upgrade would not make me happy.
    But as the dev mentions, might be a few month. I’ll have to wait and see.
    All in all I think a step to the App Store sounds good.

  2. On my other blog which kind of died on me, two other comments were made. Thought I’d add them here:

    1) Tiago:
    “Would you be offended if I moved to the Mac App Store exclusively and you didn’t get that discount for version 2.0 of flickery?”
    Did you seriously consider asking that question to your customers?
    I suppose you must be kidding. You already know the answer.

    2) Diligent
    My main problem with the Mac App Store is it destroys privacy. Apple will know exactly what apps its customers are running. I resent my OS provider having such information.

    And now developers are going along with the process making it easier for Apple to create a full profile of its customers by going App Store exclusive.

    Customers have no choice but to use the App Store – it is tied to an OS update so it will be installed if we want it or not, and many/all Mac ecosystem software is flying over to the Store

    Developers you are willing handing Apple too much power while ripping that power from your customers.

    Thank you guys for your comments.

  3. I think a lot of people get precious about the privacy angle. Apple have known everything about my software habits for over two and a half years – on my i OS devices. All they’ve ever done is send me announcements of their own products and I think that’s actually tied to my ticking of a box in relation to my Apple ID.

    The only real question here is money. Currently (and this could change due to public opinion) developers have to charge ‘one price for all’ regardless of prior purchases. This, of course goes against the most common model for software pricing – which has been around for as long as I can remember.

    When it comes to something at the price point we’re talking about here, I probably wouldn’t think twice about buying again if there were significant improvements. Remember the saga of Tweetie 2 on the iPhone – it was charged as a new app and lots of people began complaining. As far as I know it sold really well because it was a really good app.

  4. I have experienced this question with several apps I have currently installed. My choice is to eventually upgrade to the new version via MAS or keep my legacy version and give up on support for it and any new features I could not “live” without. I do not like the idea of paying the same price for an upgrade as a person starting out fresh. I guess the question comes down to “are customers willing to pay full price for each new upgrade instead of the common model of paying a reduced price for having supported the developer for some time.”

    I would suggest you have a X day sale on the new product release and notify all existing customers of the sale. Raise the price to your target after X days. Some new customers will take advantage of this, but your existing base will not feel slighted.

  5. What about a refund to old customers after they bought the app store version and produce both receipts. U can give us a refund for the old one and we’ll buy the mac appstore one ;)
    I heard of a dev who is doing this (cant remember witch one)

  6. All I care about in terms of Eternal Storms Software is the “upcoming rewrite of GimmeSomeTune” which has been upcoming for quite a while now ;-)
    I keep checking your blog about once a month for news related to GST. Hope springs eternal…

  7. You said that MAS involves “Easy updating and installing” but I have to disagree with you in that point. Nowadays well designed apps are installed by drag and drop, and they auto-detect new updates on startup. However with the introduction of the MAS I need to use a different application, the MAS, to check for updates. Why would I have to check for updates on GimmeSomeTune on MAS? Isn’t it more logical to have GimmeSomeTune app check for updates each time it launches? (as the current version does).

    Another reason why I don’t like the MAS is I cannot use Paypal to pay, and this is the way I usually pay my internet purchases. In addition to this I, as some people above, don’t like Apple to control which apps I install and uninstall on my computer.

    I understand MAS makes things easier for you, developers, to distribute your software (although I’ve got the impression that a few bunch of featured apps are being well-announced, while many other apps are practically hidden and difficult to find), but there is also a group of users that don’t like this new way of getting apps.

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