Did anybody here already run into this? Drawboard recently updated their app and paywalled some previously free functionality, most notably (hah) removing pressure-sensitive ink and reducing the max number of tools in the toolbar.
Pricing is pretty steep. The lowest plan is $6/mo (or $4.19/mo on the $50/yr plan). It totally makes sense from a business perspective, but while I might consider $12/yr, $50 is a bridge too far for me. Curious how this will work out for them.
Partial feature comparison below, full table here.
I don’t use Drawboard but I am curious how their feature paywall works out for them. Often recently I’ve had apps that I bought years ago with recent updates that block off features beyond a substantial paywall. Seems to be a trend. I’ve read that it’s because of things like what Apple did against tracking and such.
I think it probably made business sense in the past if it was worth it to customers but nowadays with every Tom Dick and Harry erecting paywalls I think some of these decisions might backfire. I mean, unless you’re rich you’ve got to draw a line someplace on these neverending expense increases.
My home screen is getting emptier as apps go paywall since none of them are essential for me. I shrug and delete. There are always alternatives if you’re not locked in by your business requirements or something.
I wouldn’t want to call it “trendy” but that is what it is - software developers are fighting for every penny of revenue and it is going to make it harder and harder to keep using “convenient” software and stick the essentials when you have to pay like this.
I sympathise with Drawboard because early on they had a full featured paid version for a one-time payment of something like $10 that they would keep updating for free. That’s not sustainable. And given how rapidly things change in tech these days, it’s hard to sell people a “buy once” product that keeps working well. They need to keep tweaking to stay up to date with APIs, and they need to pay the bills somehow.
In this particular case though I look at the looooong list of pro features, and I find that all I want is pressure sensitive ink and a few extra tools on my toolbar, the two things they changed. I would really like them to reconsider those moves. I can make it work with the number of tools (6? 7?), but fixed-pressure ink looks pretty ugly.
Having good looking ink seems so basic, and it feels a bit anti-consumer to take that away. What’s next, having the ink run out after every three words, forcing you to tap an ink-pot icon to reload? Wait, let’s not give them any ideas.
It’s definitely a fine line. I for one have always been very spend conscious and don’t like spending money on small convenience things with subscriptions in general. Especially for apps I might only use 2-3 times in a year.
At the same time, I’m a software developer, and I recognize that one time purchases don’t really cover what software is. Apps need to be constantly updated, not just for new features, but to keep up with OS’s as they are upgraded and changed, and to fix bugs, so you’re not selling a static product, you’re selling a product with maintenance. The old ways of selling a version and then your customers having the option of purchasing the next version don’t really work in the new system.
I personally could get a subscription for a month when I use something, then cancel it after and probably be fine, but I think there’s probably a middle ground that could be found that’s better for most apps that are only infrequent use apps. For instance, a yearly subscription for say $10-$12 that unlocks barebones features such as pressure sensitivity in this case, but not much else, with no option for monthly. It grants some revenue for basic things but allows for meatier subscriptions for the bigger features and functionality that needs to be continuously developed.
Reminds me of PDF Annotator, which I also subscribed to previosuly. It got so expensive that most subscribers let their subscriptions lapse. However, I think even Xodo is going in that direction. I own a subscription to Drawboard and have since it was released.
I still use Adobe (Acrobat) for most document handling. I find that I use Drawboard for signing documents and for case annotation. Neither really requires pressure sensitive inking (although annotation looks better with it). I tend to do a lot of highlighting and margin notes when reviewing cases and annotating them. I do much the same when reviewing draft documents for drafting comments.
It’s because many software developers aren’t developing consumables. I don’t really need a new word processor after buying one, as there’s really not much to add. You might get me once or twice every decade to upgrade with enough improvements, but that’s it. And before there was lots of low-hanging fruit - that has pretty much all been picked though.
It’s not like media which is consumable and has nearly infinite ideas (which after enough time can also be revisited again, either as remasters or redos).
Microsoft know this. Hence why they have rather cleverly bundled their software with their over services that people are prepared to pay for. I have Office Microsoft 365 because while I do want the Office software, it has 1TB of OneDrive storage. The storage alone is competitive with others. I could get by with even Office 2010, but why when Microsoft offer it in a bundle I want?
And that’s also why they are turning Windows into a virtual billboard and have played these silly games with ‘Windows 10 is the last Windows’, etc.
This is why I have Microsoft 365. My wife uses Word and Excel, but she’d be fine with something else. I don’t use any of it other than the storage. I back up all of my photos, art, and music to OneDrive.
It is just screams of mismanagement and laziness. I can see the brawny brains behind this pondering, how can we milk as many users as much as possible for money? As much as I dislike Adobe for switching to cloud, they never revoked or converted the old software versions of CS to cloud. They simply stopped supporting them. What the dunderhead managing this company should have done here is made a new SaaS version and then ended development on the older single payment version. Paywalling customers who paid for a fully functional older version beforehand is breach of contract no matter how many ways you try to say it nicely. He was quite frankly too lazy to fork his development and also wanted to push all his customers into SaaS servitude.
Sorry old buddy, but you forgot Rule #1 - you don’t OWN any of the software you buy - d@mn lawyers fixed that years ago in the tiny print unread EULA’s that specify you are only licensing (renting) the software for so long as they desire…
Sorry again @Hifihedgehog - but they got you by the shorts in section 1.6 - plus about a half-dozen other places:
1.6.1 change the Services in its sole discretion from time to time, including the functionality,
performance, user interface, usability and the service description and you agree that
these Terms will apply to any changes or updates to the Services; and/or
1.6.2 discontinue any Service in whole or in part at any time without notice or liability to you,
except as may be required to fulfill any existing Orders.
In fact, given the oppressiveness of all EULA’s, their lawyers would be sued for malpractice by Drawboard if you did have any real rights under the EULA…
Update: the Drawboard folks reminded me that there’s a 50% educational discount available that’s valid for two years, bringing the lowest-tier pricing down to $25 per year i.e. a touch over $2 per month.
Given how much I have used Drawboard in the past nine (!!!) years I decided to sign up. Hoping that once my two years of discount are up, pressure sensitive ink will have magically returned to the free toolset.