Today, Smile announced a new version of TextExpander, the popular text expansion tool for Mac. This version of TextExpander though I’m afraid will be met with resistance and potentially alienate current customers as it embraces the popular software-as-a-service model and has gone from a one-time purchase of $34.95 to a monthly subscription of $4.95/month (discounts available for yearly billing).
TextExpander has long been one of my favorite applications (I even made a video guide for it over at Asian Efficiency), and I can’t imagine using a Mac without it anymore. As a long-time user of TextExpander and a huge fan of Smile Software I’m happy to give them more money for quality software, but I’m afraid the SaaS model isn’t a great fit here. IMHO, syncing my TE snippets via Dropbox is different than syncing financial (YNAB) or even personal (DayOne) data because those services need to be secure, whereas my TE snippets being synced is a matter of convenience. I’m not sure of the value of a stand-alone sync service in this case.
That being said, I do get it. TextExpander has launched a team component to make sure that your snippets are always in sync, and they even have a Windows beta now. This could be the saving grace for this model as I know many people who love their Macs for personal use but are stuck using a PC at work and being able to use TextExpander in both places would be a huge benefit for them. I get asked frequently if there is a Window’s equivalent for TextExpander, and I’m thrilled that they are launching one.
I do wish they had chosen to do something similar to 1Password though and allowed users the option of using the paid service in a team environment or continuing to use the Dropbox/iCloud sync for personal use. I don’t have a need for the cloud service myself, and I’m afraid of what will happen to my stand-alone TE installation. Smile has said that they’ll support version 5 for now, which is usually code for “until we can figure out a way to turn it off without making people upset.”
Will be interesting to see how this all shakes out, but I’m reserving judgment for now. As a TextExpander super-fan though I’m also not upgrading yet, which I think is very telling.