A recent business-model innovation by a Mac software developer suggests that companies can rethink the way niche software is sold—and that could have potential for associations and industry vendors. When it comes to apps and tools, I’m a bit of an obsessive—I’ll try all sorts of random things, big and small, until I find something I’m truly comfortable with.
Unfortunately, the App Store economy has never been built to accommodate this sort of experimentation. You download an app, you use it once, and you just wasted three bucks. It’s a better state of affairs than we had in the shrink-wrap era—when you had to get in your car, hit the Best Buy, plunk down $100, get home, and go through a long install process before you realized you grabbed the wrong app and have to head back to the store—but it’s still pretty annoying.
But a recent player in the Mac world suggests a future path for apps that could reinvent the software space in an important way. Setapp, a platform launched earlier this year by the developer MacPaw, is a Netflix-style refresh of the App Store model that Apple might even want to take a look at. For $9.99 per month, users can download an unlimited number of Mac apps from a selection of around 80.