Sofa on the Mac App Store
by Dirk Stoop
The Mac App Store is out and people have been asking us if and when we'll put our apps up on it. This post is about our plans and also gives a bit of background.
Kaleidoscope and Versions are both coming to the App Store. Kaleidoscope will be up first. We submitted it for review yesterday and hope it'll be up soon. Versions will follow suit later, probably about a month and a half from today. We don't have any plans to share about bringing Checkout to the App Store right now.
We will also continue to sell our software ourselves, from our own websites. I'll talk a little more about why further on.
If you already own Versions or Kaleidoscope, we can't bring you over to the App Store versions. But not to worry, those aren't in any way superior to the versions that you already have. We will keep supporting our current users, and we'll keep shipping the same free updates to our apps both in- and outside of the App Store.
Why Not App Store Only?
Besides all the good things about the App Store, it is a new middleman between us and our customers, and that means by definition that it has some drawbacks.
Most of the App Store criticism I've read describes features developers miss, like being able to charge for paid upgrades, or knowing who bought our apps (Apple doesn't give developers any customer information). All valid points, that have been very well described elsewhere. I want to touch on a few other things that haven't gotten quite as much attention.
We give students 35% off of our apps, and we like giving away a free copy now and again. We also want to make it possible for people to buy multiple copies of our apps at once – for their entire team, department or company – and give them a suitable discount; quite a common scenario with apps like Versions or Kaleidoscope. And when a customer wants a refund, we want to be able to give it first and ask questions later. None of this is possible with the App Store right now.
My bigger point is that selling our Mac apps – until now – has been as much a part of our business as creating them, and I like to think we're pretty good at it. Our approach is also different from that of a developer who sells games, or consumer apps, or enterprise software, because we serve customers with different needs.
We're sure Apple will keep improving the App Store and they'll probably address many of the issues I mentioned at some point. But for now, we're happy that we have everything in place to help our customers directly and we have no plans to stop doing so.