Subscription Model: From Newspapers to Applications

I don’t know when subscription payment model has started but one of the oldest example is newspapers and now it entered the world of software. I’m not talking about monthly subscribing of an app but one that allows you to use a collection of high quality apps with a flat fee.

No one can deny the effectiveness and benefits of a good app on his computer or phone. I’m a Mac user, and from very long time ago I used some apps on a daily basis and some occasionally that saved my time and energy and I would upgrade to the paid vesion in a heartbeat if it made my life simpler. Some examples are 1Password, Forklift, and Paw to name a few. I’m an app junkie and love to try new apps and find ones that can improve my efficientcy, but finding good apps are a challenge and I usually go through a bunch of reviews on AppStore and online to find good ones. Sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know. For example I didn’t know there’s an app for managing your clipboard data efficiently until a colleague at work mentioned it to me.

Then I entered the world of Setapp. Setapp is an application and a subscription based service on Mac OS that allows users to use a collection of hand picked high quality apps with a monthly fee without the need to purchase the apps individually or paying for upgrades.

Setapp also has a pretty smart app management system. They keep the apps under Setapp folder in the Applications folder. If you already installed an app that you can find in Setapp, it wouldnt override the existing version on your machine, it just simply installs a copy in Applications/Setapp folder.

It will take a while to see how often Setapp updates the apps on the store and whether they remove an app later that I may use and love, forcing to purchase the app out of their echosystem. Their business model is definitely a smart one and a win win for them, the users, and app publishers since it financially makes sense for a user who uses more than three to four of those apps. Mac apps, specially ones with high quality, are usually expensive both to buy and upgrade and it make sense to me to pay $9 per month (at the time of this writing) to subscribe and not worry about maintaining licenses and upgrading the apps.

I should disclose here that I have no affiliation with Setapp and just a user who started trial and got an email invitation from the developer of Forklift to try Setapp which is available on Setapp too.