The Shape of Everything
A website mostly about Mac stuff, written by August "Gus" Mueller
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June 11, 2016

Listening to ATP this morning got me thinking about the recent subscription announcements for the App Stores. During the discussion, John mentioned charging a fee once per year vs. once per month, which led my brain to play out the following things.

What if Acorn did charge $29.99 a year? Would that be awesome? It would certainly fix the problem where folks don't have to pay for the next major upgrade and it's also very similar to what Sketch 4.0 is planning on doing. It also fixes the problem where someone purchases Acorn 5 the day before Acorn 6 comes out, and misses out on a grace period that doesn't currently exist on the App Store (though direct purchases get this automatically because we can just send out an email with a new license).

Yes, this could be awesome. But wait. I also have customers that aren't able to upgrade to the next major version of the OS for any number of reasons, and what if Acorn 6 was 10.12+ only? Does that mean folks still on 10.10 or 10.11 are paying a yearly fee even though they will no longer get any feature upgrades?

This breaks my heart. At Flying Meat we've traditionally had the philosophy that we sell something, and if you like it you can give us some money for it and use it for as long as you'd like. Subscriptions will probably break that. So unless the App Store provides a way for apps with expired subscriptions to keep on working, I don't think it'd be a good fit for Acorn. Also that sounds like paid upgrades (I really miss paid upgrades).

Of course, I could always try the subscription route via the App Store, and then keep direct sales just the way they are today- i.e., you buy something and you get something to use for as long as you'd like. But then I worry that might lead to more customer confusion.

Maybe I'll let other folks try this stuff out first.