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Ulysses, infected by a trendy virus, changes to all-Subscription model

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Posted by Hugh
Aug 12, 2017 at 10:52 AM


Stephen Zeoli wrote:
The author David Hewson, one of Ulysses’s biggest fans, offers a
>perspective opposite of mine:
> >https://davidhewson.com/2017/08/11/the-new-ulysses-subscription-plan-is-a-wonderful-idea/
> >Steve Z.

I think I agree with David Hewson.

I want app developers who show a degree of innovation and professional competence to be able to thrive, and, yes, to be well-rewarded for the skills and the imagination they display. That’s because I want to be able to benefit from their creativity and their professionalism not just now but in the future. I include the Soulmen, the developers of Ulysses, in that category; Ulysses is a relatively innovative and certainly well-designed app, better for certain purposes in my experience than numbers of its rivals.

This is against a background where the software market is maturing. The app stores have no doubt had the effect of driving down prices by making it very easy for customers to compare software value across the board; remember the days when, say, Lotus Agenda cost at least $120, and Wordperfect something similar? And the options for break-out Scrivener-style successes appear to have been mostly filled. I don’t hear of any developers retiring to live in Monte Carlo; I do see once-valued apps becoming abandonware as, presumably, their developers withdraw from the market-place. But squeezed developers won’t be good for the future of software.

Now different routes to possible profitability and future survival have opened up: sticking with one-off fees till upgrade (e.g. Scrivener), pure subscription (e.g. Ulysses) and subscription as an option (e.g. Setapp, and, perhaps, DevonThink in the future). There will be errors of execution (see, perhaps, Day One, and Paul’s comments above about Ulysses pricing). But in general a diversity of pricing models can only be healthy in the long-term, for developers and for customers. And if the Soulmen judge that their survival is best guaranteed by a subscription-pricing model, I’m ready to pay for that, at least for the time being.