Pathfinder users: would you support a subscription model?

stu.farnham's Avatar


02 Sep, 2017 04:30 PM

Anyone who has been watching the market for productivity apps, at least on the Mac, knows that is a very challenging market in which to succeed. The App Store has changed how users value software, driving prices down.This makes it difficult for companies like Cocoatech to be profitable. Its users see the effect of this in the overall decrease of responsiveness from Cocoatech. How long have we suffered with the PF7 screen focus bug? Why is there no High Sierra beta version and likely no High Sierra supported version. until PF8? My guess it is due the the financial squeeze.

I have been using Pathfinder for as long as I have been using a Mac, and hadn't given it any particular thought for several years until I switched to the High Sierra beta and had to work without it. Over time it has insinuated itself into my workflow to the point that it is indispensable. I tried a couple of its competitors (CommandOne and ForkLift) and they are feature poor by comparison.Pathfinder has become very valuable to me; Finder isn't even in the game.

Over the several years several long time essential apps have gravitated towards subscription models, largely to attempt to offset the market forces that are squeezing so many out of business. 1Password and TextExpander are two that come to mind. Microsoft and Adobe have also made the transition.

A couple of these transitions provide object lessons in how NOT to make the switch. Adobe faced tremendous backlash in the photography market until they created the $10/month photography bundle. TextExpander users felt they were being forced into a price increasin with a new version that did not add value for the; in fact many felt the removal of Dropbox sync removed value. Fortunately for its users the folks at Smile software listened to their customers and made adjustments.

Microsoft (a company I am generally slow to praise) did a great job with their subscription model for Office 365. Although there are only two of us in my household we have thee Macs and at usually a couple of Windows VMs for work purposes, plus a couple of iPhones and iPads. We can run office on all of these for $100/year. New fealties in 1Password were such that switching to the subscription version was a no brainer in a household with lots of computers, multiple operating systems, and shared passwords for a number of accounts.

There's a key lesson in the approaches and experiences of those companies who have made the switch. The successful changeovers occurred when users perceived added value as well as added cost. When they did not companies like Adobe and Smile software were compelled to make adjustments to create sufficient user value.

So, what's my point? I would like to see Cocoatech move to a subscription model if doing so will help them remain profitable and to maintain and extend their product in the manner they have traditionally done.I'd gladly pay something like the upgrade price of $20/year for the software, especially if there was some sort of multi license bundle available.

A question for all of you who follow this forum: would you support a switch to a subscription model? What would motivate you to do so or why would you not?


Showing page 2 out of 2. View the first page

  1. 31 Posted by tatami on 25 May, 2018 05:08 PM

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    No, I would not be prepared to pay a subscription.

  2. 32 Posted by Peter on 25 May, 2018 06:03 PM

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    never a subscription for what you delivered with PF8. have been using PF for 6 years now. after seeing this new version, and the license changements I switched to Forklift now.

  3. 33 Posted by John on 25 May, 2018 07:55 PM

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    I'm not even willing to upgrade to PF8 due to the sidebar issues let alone pay a subscription.

  4. 34 Posted by boreham on 25 May, 2018 08:18 PM

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    I recognise the necessity for Software Developers to be paid and have nothing against the subscription model in principle. My experience with Adobe CC, Office 365 and 1Password has been good.

    So my answer is yes if the price is right,

  5. 35 Posted by 4doyle on 25 May, 2018 09:17 PM

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    Short answer, No

    Long answer, Hell No

  6. Path Finder Support Team closed this discussion on 26 May, 2018 12:38 AM.

  7. Path Finder Support Team re-opened this discussion on 26 May, 2018 12:38 AM

  8. 36 Posted by mwoffenden on 26 May, 2018 12:43 AM

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    Yes, IF developer delivered first class support, timely releases in time for major OS releases, and rapid fixing of any bugs in the product.

  9. 37 Posted by chriswayg on 26 May, 2018 11:47 AM

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    NO! I want to be able to choose when to get a paid upgrade. For most software that may be every 3 years or so. Unless the yearly subscription is max. 33% of the upgrade price, I will likely switch to an alternative. So far I have paid $60 for 6 years, and may not upgrade to version 8 for another year.

    For example, I did not switch to a subscription for 1 Password. And Path Finder has no shared Password and no need to provide data in the cloud.

  10. 38 Posted by Heiko on 26 May, 2018 01:21 PM

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    Is this a joke? Updates every couple of years, and then paying monthly?!


  11. 39 Posted by Bob on 26 May, 2018 01:26 PM

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    That’s how they getcha. :-)

    It’s like owning a house - you pay monthly, and then every couple years you make a big payment for some repair or upgrade.

    But you’re not building equity here.

  12. Path Finder Support Team closed this discussion on 26 May, 2018 05:28 PM.

  13. Path Finder Support Team re-opened this discussion on 26 May, 2018 05:28 PM

  14. 40 Posted by Steel58 on 26 May, 2018 06:50 PM

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    I would add my "No" to the list of those opposed to a subscription-based service for PF. However, Stu.Farnham made a good point about ensuring there is incentive for developers to continue creating/updating products for the public. However, I don't think the subscriptions do anything more than provide a positive cash flow for the developer without necessarily providing a benefit to the subscriber. There would be no compelling reason (except maybe competition) for a developer to add features, improve functionality or address compatibility issues when Apple makes a new Mac OS available.

    I believe the best way for a developer to approach upgrades and to ensure viability is to provide value in each upgrade and to charge an appropriate fee to users who wish to upgrade. If users don't perceive value in the upgrade then they don't have to upgrade and they can continue to use their current version without fear of a sunset clause in their EULA. And if users see value in the upgrade, Cocoatech will benefit.

    In order for good software to be available, there has to be something of benefit for the developer and it needs to be sustainable for them and affordable for users. There is nothing more laughable than reading Apple App Store app reviews where users rant about their dissatisfaction with free app functionality or support. You just don't get something for nothing - developers are not charities.

    The race to the bottom has created a marketplace of unrealistic expectations. The architects of these expectations include Apple and developers as well as users.

    In announcing PF8 (May 20 blog), Cocoatech went to great lengths to explain all the backroom work that went into the latest version. Quite, frankly, I don't care. It was very telling, however, that it was pointed out that the overhaul is far from being over. I'm not sure, as a user being asked to pay for an upgrade that this is what I want to be reading.

    Whatever was Cocoatech's motivation was for launching the “Not Ready for Prime-time” PF8, I think the "loyal" users mentioned deserve an honest explanation for the sorry state of the app with a realistic timeline for the critical issues to be resolved.

    I would like to think Cocoatech would address this sooner rather than later. For me, I'll be working with PF7.6.2 until it no longer serves as the productive tool it has been or Cocoatech can provide a credible reason for me to upgrade (or use Forklift 3).

  15. 41 Posted by Daniel on 26 May, 2018 09:00 PM

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    NO, no and: no
    I am willing to go back to the Finder if you go towards a subscription model.

  16. 42 Posted by Stever Robbins on 26 May, 2018 10:13 PM

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    I would be willing under the provision that if I cancel my subscription, the software continues to function at the last functionality level I had when the subscription was active. I've been burned before by subscription software that stopped working when the company in question got sold or went out of business. Having my productivity tied directly to the health of some random software company is a deal-breaker for me.

  17. 43 Posted by JMichaelTX on 26 May, 2018 10:21 PM

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    RE: Post #40 by @Steel58

    I strongly agree with most everything @Steel58 said in post #40, especially this:

    I believe the best way for a developer to approach upgrades and to ensure viability is to provide value in each upgrade and to charge an appropriate fee to users who wish to upgrade. If users don't perceive value in the upgrade then they don't have to upgrade and they can continue to use their current version without fear of a sunset clause in their EULA. And if users see value in the upgrade, Cocoatech will benefit.

    I agree that is the best way to motivate owners/developers of PF, and provide real value to their users.

  18. 44 Posted by Bob on 26 May, 2018 11:19 PM

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    I see mentions of Forklift, but that appears to be primarily a transfer client, not a Finder replacement.

    As an advanced home user, I think I’ve only used FTP once in all my years of computing, and only when a link and instructions were sent to me to download a single file.

    Correct me if I’m wrong (and I know ya’ll will), but it doesn’t look to me like Forklift is capable of doing 90% of what PF7 can do.

    I have no intention of upgrading from Sierra to High Sierra and unless significant improvements are made to PF8 I won’t be installing it again, either.

    Didn’t the subscription model begin with Adobe’s Creative Suite?
    And it offered access to all the CC apps for one monthly fee instead of shelling out a buttload of money for the suite.

    "CS customers typically only bought a subset of Adobe's products; the full Master Collection costs a whopping $2,500. With the CC model, though, they get access to all the software. That means customers can try new software.

    Some might fear that once they're signed up for Creative Cloud subscriptions, they're subject to Adobe's pricing whims. Buying perpetual licenses for Adobe software has never been cheap, but customers knew they'd be able to use it without any unwelcome price-hike surprises."

    That could be considered a great value for those who have a need for a majority of apps in the suite and can’t /won’t fork over the price of a used car to get them.

    A subscription for a $40 app seems ludicrous to me! It seems immensely more sensible to just pay another $40 in a couple years if/when a new (and worthy) version of PF is released. And any bug fixes or improvements in incremental versions should be priced into the initial purchase.

    If Cocoatech isn’t able to keep their doors open by selling a single piece of software for a reasonable price, then perhaps it’s time to expand their offerings (Forklift competitor?) or sell the business to a larger and/or more competent developer. Micromat and Koingo come to mind because they both offer an array of software.

    Though I’m not sure how they could handle additional development when they’re barely able to support the single piece of software that is their entire reason for existence.

  19. Path Finder Support Team closed this discussion on 27 May, 2018 04:02 PM.

  20. Path Finder Support Team re-opened this discussion on 27 May, 2018 04:02 PM

  21. 45 Posted by Stephan on 27 May, 2018 08:14 PM

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    NO !!!!
    I've waited for months, in several cases more than 1,5 year for bugfixes. So I'm not ready to pay a subscription. If you will change to that model - bye bye finder. So I will wait also upgrading to PF 8, it seems to be to buggy.

  22. Path Finder Support Team closed this discussion on 28 May, 2018 03:20 PM.

  23. Path Finder Support Team re-opened this discussion on 28 May, 2018 03:20 PM

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