DEVONthink To Go - price of new version?

I would be massively disappointed to see DTTG get subscription based.
I use it very passively, as final storage for stuff and while I like it beside all the many lacks of features and the many problems, it is a valuable encrypted safe for my data.

But I would never ever be willing to pay monthly for it!

I could live with any pricing variant that let us buy NEW versions of DTTG with lots of new features (a really new and big release), so that may I can opt to buy a major new version every year or two.

But with lacking development and none of the so important features ever showing up since many years, a subscription model would make me leave!

Subscription is a bad model anyways, which was often discussed.
Better is the above model, where the developer creates major new versions with major new features and sells them as new version!

This way the customer can decide if he wants to new version (which needs to be a new App in the App Store!) or if he continues to use the older version.
If the developer manages to update the App in a good way, most customers will follow and buy!

This is the way to go! It benefits both developer and customer.

Or the Agenda model - subscription gets you all updates as they appear. If you cancel the subscription, you get to keep whatever functionality was delivered during the subscription period. That would be my preference.


I tend to disagree. The model is not bad in itself - lots of services use subscriptions (phone, newspaper, water, streaming etc.) Nowadays, software subscription is ubiquitous (think clou services, Adobe, Microsoft), and the older “maintenance” fee model is not really different: companies paid up front for a software license and then a regular fee for “support” and “updates”. Which in many cases did not materialize.
You never “buy” software anyway, you simply acquire a “right to use” it, aka a “license”. Which is basically renting for an unspecified time (unless they go out of business, the software doesn’t run on the next OS release, the next hardware …) it with a single payment.
Subscription models help software companies to generate a predictable cash flow. Which is probably more important for smaller companies like DT than for the giants like MS and Adobe. So it helps to keep them in business, which should be in the interest of those using the sofware.
Obviously, many people feel more “locked-in” by a subscription model than by buying a license. In my opinion, there’s not much of a difference. How much a software locks one in depends on the software itself, not on the licensing model. Apples Notes for example is completely free of charge. However, getting notes out of it and moving it to another product (e.g. DT) is a PITA at its best, impossible at its worst. Which is, I think, entirely the fault of the Notes developers and has nothing to do with the licensing model.
On the other hand, DT does not hide your files away, you can always export them as they are (or simply access them directly via the file system). Admittedly, some of the metadata might vanish in the process, though. You might want to compare that to other products that are mentioned here regularly.

This is not a real choice: Old software will eventually stop to work (new hardware, new OS – think of the switch from 32 to 64 bit on Macs or now from Intel to ARM). Old software might contain security flaws that are not fixed anymore. Only sovereignty over your data offers you real choice so that you can possibly use them in another app.


And this is meant as an argument for subscription? Quite the opposite I’d say: You use a software on a computer with an OS. Then the next OS comes and your machine does not run with it anymore or you decide not to upgrade because of important software does not work on this OS. This is, especially in Appleverse, quite a common situation where you have to decide what you are willing (and financially able) to do: Stick to the old stuff or invest. Old stuff that, by the way, will not stop working until the hardware finally breaks.

If you decide not to run the latest stuff and you have a subscripted software chances are good you pay for new features and improvements you won’t see in your older hardware and software environment.


That’s exactly the same.
My interpretation of the model gives you an App and each new major version would be a new App, so different Apps with different feature sets.

Your interpretation tries to do the same with the same App, that keeps getting new features whole are only allowed to use those that you pay for,

Those versions work practically in the same way, but mine would be much easier to implement, as the developer can simply work on a new App and can forget about the old App. Implementing such different feature sets in the same App may prove to be extremely different, if not even impossible.

The model is not bad in itself - lots of services use subscriptions (phone, newspaper, water, streaming etc.) Nowadays, software subscription is ubiquitous (think clou services, Adobe, Microsoft), and the older “maintenance” fee model is not really different: companies paid up front for a software license and then a regular fee for “support” and “updates”. Which in many cases did not materialize.

Subscription usually work when you sell the content (like Netflix or newspapers) or service (like Dropbox or iCloud). Or you are a monopolist and you could force your clients to it like Microsoft or Adobe (Actually for big business client the subscription may be better than upfront buying software fee, if they need to hire/fire new workers) . Subscription for the calculator app, even if it support development of new features might be not the best idea.

Insurances, water, and electricity come as a monthly fee. A subscription for a restaurant is not likely to be successful. - iA Writer devs

Also iA devs about when subscription doesn’t work

4.1 Customers don’t understand the work behind the subscription
If you don’t live stream multimedia poetry walking up and down Japan, and you offer pretty much the very same thing month after month, people will feel like you charge rent because you can, not because it costs you money to run your operation. People have to understand, and see, and feel, and experience why they need to pay you constantly.
Not all value is visible: In product-based subscription businesses, as well as the traditional buy-sell paradigm, the value-for-value exchange is clear-cut: pay money, get the product. In the service-based subscription economy, that dynamic isn’t always so simple.” – CBInsights: 7 Surprising Industries Turning To Subscription Business Models
This is impossible. People think making software is not a big deal. After all, a copy of your app costs you nothing! They expect support but don’t think about its cost. They expect that it works on the latest iPhone but don’t think that updating it costs you. That may be unfair, but not everyone is an expert on software development economics.
4.2 Customers feel that they get a bad deal
Renting an apartment will be more expensive over time than buying it, but, short term, renting has a lot of upsides. Compared to buying, renting is easy. Renting is less of a financial risk and you stay flexible to change apartments.
If you buy subscriptions but you feel that you end up paying more for the subscription in a year, than you paid for the full version previously, you feel bad. Subscriptions over a year should be substantially cheaper than your previous full version or your paid competitor’s app.

@chrillek Are you a hidden agent who tries to implement acceptance for subscriptions?

Your subscription idea is off the lane.

It could only ever work for major Applications, which are central to someone’s work, as this is only possible for major things, like you wrote.

Nowadays many developers try to be subscription based and that simply does not work.

OneDrive and Office 365 Family are barely major for me and I pay 50 to 60 Euro per year. And that gives me 6 TB of cloud storage.
For others, Adobe is major enough, most probably because they need it for work - I don’t know any person who just wants to paint a bit or modify some images to pay their prices. All of those people use procreate and Affinity instead.

Making music, I have hundreds of Synths and effects installed, even if each would cost only 1 Euro per month, I would need to pay many hundred euros per months!
And this is not counting my endless office Apps or my games.

If DTTG would try to be subscription based, I and many others are simply going away. This App is not something major for me. I sometimes store PDFs and rarely other stuff into it. I like to have it and I would even pay for major new versions (if I see need for them), but that’s it. That would never ever be major enough to justify a subscription model.

The desktop version seems to be used by people who use it as something major in their work. Maybe major enough to justify a subscription model, but even here, buying new major versions is by far preferable over a subscription!

For me, as a DTTG-ONLY user, this is nowhere near acceptable.


It’ not “exactly the same”

In the Agenda model, I still get full support for those features delivered during my subscription period. Tinderbox (Mac only) operates in a similar way.

In your model, I only get support for the current version. If I decide not to buy it, I don’t get support for my, now abandoned, version. The dev may choose to support some number of previous versions, but they’re not obliged to. Some will, some won’t.

I’ mot arguing that one is better than the other - there’s a set of trade-offs for each. I’m simply saying that the Agenda model is my preference.

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Yes, as I said - it may be very hard to offer and implement for the developer.

Example of music Apps:

Wotja offers a yearly version, I bought some and I skipped some - depending on what the new version offered. And I still can use all the old Apps. Never saw a problem with them and they all perfectly work.

If the developer is capable of this and the changes can all be implemented in the same App, go for it!

But if the changes cannot implemented in the same App or the developer simply cannot handle this, you get the same with simply new Apps.

Yes, potentially the old Apps may not work anymore at some time, but personally I never experienced that.

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Another example is mindode - they went to subscription model last.
Their desktop app cost in 2019 around 40€ + 16€ their mobile app. Now the year of subscription cost ~ 20€ and it includes both desktop and mobile. People who has bought earlier the app can have it with all the features and system upgrades, but new features will be shipped only to people with subscription from now (for example devs upgraded their app to big sur and ios14 for everyone but the new outline feature will be available only for people with subscription)

And, MindNode is available as volume edition, pay once and get all updates forever!

I have exactly this version, otherwise I would have deleted the App since long.

But I prefer iThoughts anyway, it is much more advanced.

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Glad to see another DTTG only user here. I’m actually tinkering around switching to Yoink or Notebooks in case the subscription comes online. Do you have other options in mind?

Btw, the volume edition of MindNode is no longer updated with new features unfortunately. But as you said, iThoughts is better for power users.

I have Yoink and Notebooks 10 and lots and lots of others Apps.
I simply need easy store and find, maybe with some automation, but I did not yet seek an alternative for DTTG.
Let’s wait for what is coming.

What makes you think that subscriptions are my “idea”? I’m just not completely against them and tried to explain my reasoning. YMMV, as always. Feel free to subscribe or not to whatever you want or not. As do I.

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Two of your examples are not services at all. Water is a product, I use x amount each month and the water company sends me a bill for what I used. Newspapers (and magazines, etc.) may call themselves a subscription, but they too are products. I agree to pay x in exchange for a specific number of issues delivered on a set interval. If I stop the subscription, I can still use all the old issues that I paid for.

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I would pay a subscription fee if we got smart groups, pretty much. That’s the main limitation in DTTG for me - I have to be at my computer to access them, so some things I can’t do on the go. Other nice features would be a bonus of course, but I tend to approach subscriptions as a good way of ensuring those things will appear.

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As helpful as -> problems fix coming -> new feature coming -> can’t tell you when or what -> 1 year no release -> yada yada.

You know To Go’s issues in feedbacks and forum. No need for old man to regurgitate. To Go lets customers down relative to to all your wonderful products.


I agree. I think the discussion here is partly missing the point.

I had nothing but problems getting consistent sync results (matching search results) between DT 3 and DTTG to the point where I had to get a refund for DTTG. I think if DTTG solved its problems and added great features and had a reasonable subscription fee, that might work.

I can’t justify subscriptions since DT, for me, is a “nice to have” program I use once in a while, not a “must have” and would not use it as I eschew subscriptions. But, getting the software to just work better would be my suggestion for step 1 with version 3.

Subscriptions is about regular income for the company not, always, better products. :frowning:

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The first (income) being a necessary though not sufficient condition for the second (better product).

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