Smile Software introduced a new version of its popular keyboard shortcut utility for Mac and iOS (and now for Windows), TextExpander. Sweeping changes to the way the app works and its payment model – switching from a perpetual license to a subscription program – caused significant user backlash. So Smile on Tuesday announced “adjustments” to TextExpander to make the transition less painful for its customers.
Among the changes is a lifetime discount for existing users to migrate to the new service. What’s more, the company plans to continue to sell and support the previous versions of TextExpander for OS X and iOS.
Smile’s likely to have lost some customers who have already moved or will move to other shortcut utilities, but this should stave off most of the bleeding. Greg Scown admits that Smile fumbled the TextExpander launch and promised to do better in the future.
I don’t think Scown and company are wrong to evolve TextExpander to a service instead of just an application. Obviously you can’t blindly reinvent your product around the idea of switching the payment model, but that doesn’t mean new payment models shouldn’t be tried.