It’s been an eventful week. Over the last 7 days Smile Software’s recent controversial decision to migrate to a cloud & subscription-based model for TextExpander has been creating waves, to put it mildly. We had initially planned to just keep our heads down and our mouths shut, but our inbox is now overflowing with anxious emails seeking reassurance. We don’t want anyone to misread a tight-lipped response, so here goes: our view is that Smile’s new plan constitutes a bold move, albeit not one we would consider making ourselves.
Why not? Well, partly because we’ve no wish to raid anyone’s piggy bank on a monthly basis and partly because we’re a tiny, somewhat oldskool outfit. We’re also allergic to complicated legal admin. The thought of the security and privacy headaches being responsible for a cloud service would involve makes us break into a cold sweat. Then there’s the simple fact that we’re not enamoured with the idea of effectively renting apps to customers. The one-time $19.99 purchase with optional upgrades model suits us just fine and people seem happy enough with it. So if you’re a TypeIt4Me user alarmed by Smile’s new direction and worried we might follow in their footsteps, you can relax: that’s not going to happen.
…Now, how to put this? Aside from questions about our plans, there have been suggestions in some quarters that we must be lapping up the fallout from Smile’s announcement. Are we relishing the commotion? The answer is no. There’s no bad blood between us and Smile. We’ve enjoyed a cordial, healthily competitive relationship with them since around 2006, when they acquired Textpander from Peter Maurer – a gifted indie developer whose work we’ve always admired a great deal. At times, yes, we’ve envied Smile’s larger talent pool and the superior resources that ultimately enabled their dev team to outpace us. All the while, we couldn’t help but doff our caps, because they’re consummate professionals and we are indebted to them for popularising text expansion. Smile cannily leveraged sponsorship and used its affiliate relationships to introduce text expansion to the mainstream at a time when we simply weren’t equipped to do so. Throughout the years they and our other friendly competitors have motivated us to keep raising our game.
Far from rubbing our hands with schadenfreude, we’re mainly a bit spooked by some of the unbridled scorn being poured on a previously well-regarded team that’s successfully marketed a solid, dependable utility for years. Watching a decade’s worth of goodwill unravel in the wake of a surprise decision that alienated a lot of customers has been a sobering lesson that we need to tread carefully ourselves. So, as always, we’ll do our best not to disappoint anyone and just get on with making TypeIt4Me better.
To recap, then: there’s no cloud service or subscription pricing in our foreseeable future, we hope everyone at Smile is OK and we’re just going to carry on doing what we do. Our aim is to keep chiselling away at the rough edges of TypeIt4Me with each release so that it continues to gradually improve. We’re aware that it’s been showing its age; version 5.5 was the first step in our plan to do something about that. We still have quite a laundry list of features to add and refine, which ought to keep us busy and hopefully out of trouble for a while yet. We think you’ll like Version 6.0 when it drops, but its release is still quite a way off and there will likely be a couple of minor incremental updates before then. It takes us a while to design, develop, localize and test new features rigorously and we also have a couple of other irons in the fire to attend to. In the meantime…keep the requests and suggestions coming! We may not be able to cater to all of them, but we do like a challenge. Hope this has shed enough light on our thinking to put you at ease.