Customers of past versions of TextExpander get a 50% lifetime discount to the new service, paying $20 per year, which isn’t bad.
But what about new customers? The new pricing is a lot to pay for a text expansion app, for which there are many alternatives on the Mac. And I’m skeptical of the existence of the corporate market for the product that Smile Software anticipates.
As for me, I’m in the process of migrating my TextExpander clippings to the built-in Apple keyboard shortcuts and the Copied clipboard manager app. I’m not doing it to save money or as a protest against Smile Software – I’m doing it because I think it’ll be a better solution. But the price change doesn’t make me want to stay with TextExpander.
The major mistake in the announcement of the new model was a failure to explain the benefits of it, or to provide any major new features along with it that would be relevant to individual users. The touted benefit of the subscription model was group sharing, which is really an enterprise feature, and it felt like individual users were being forced to pay for something they didn’t require.
TextExpander users have been quite satisfied with the current Dropbox/cloud sync for their snippets. What Smile left out of the marketing was that the current system had hit some limitations, and the move to a hosted service opened a new world of possibilities for feature development. Easy sharing and updating of snippets between users (without having to have a hosted URL) is only the first benefit; it also makes possible improved compatibility between platforms (Windows version in beta), things like Zapier and IFTTT integration and automation, and a host of new features they’re excited about (but can’t share yet).
The new model also ends the repetitive upgrade system. Once users are on the subscription plan, updates will come seamlessly, frequently, and without extra charge or major version bumps. Most of us have been upgrading regularly at a cost that comes out to about the same as a year-long subscription.