Why we’re switching Ulysses to Subscription
Max Seelemann

Sorry Ulysses, I’m switching to Scrivener

I’ve been using Ulysses—and recommending it around me—ever since the very first version of the app. But while I understand the business model aspects of your decision, I’m sorry to say I’ll be switching to Scrivener instead of signing up to the new subscription model.

Here are my reasons:

First, as many people have explained in the comments here, I really don’t see the value in having Ulysses as a subscription service vs a one-off purchase. I can accept using an app as a subscription service only where there is an actual service being provided on top of the app.

For instance, Dropbox is essentially a server-side app; Evernote has proprietary syncing, server-side OCR, etc.; VPN apps have more stuff happening server-side than client-side.

I’m afraid this isn’t the case here: Ulysses is an app, not a service.

Second, whatever your intentions/roadmap may be, it doesn’t seem to me that Ulysses’ update cycle justifies a subscription service. In other words, your update cycle resembles more—and, I think, will for a long time remain closer to—that of apps like Scrivener, OmniFocus or NetNewsWire, i.e. pay-per-major-version apps, than apps/services such as, yes, Microsoft Office, Newton or most security/anti-malware apps, which push several must-have updates per year.

Third, there’s a lot of competition in your space. In fact, I’m pretty sure most of your users—including the oldest and most loyal—use Ulysses alongside one or many other writing apps. I, for instance, use Ulysses for first drafts and short to mid-size articles, as well as Scrivener for long-form content and research-heavy pieces, and Word for my non-creative writing and to add the finishing touches to most of my writing.

Bottom line: it’s very easy to replace Ulysses with a new or existing app in my routine with little to no discomfort.

Fourth, even with the lifetime discount for existing users, your price point is still too high here. Your closest subscription-based competitor, Bear, charges $14.99 per year. That’s less than half what you guys are charging.

Again, the above observations come from someone who has been using and loving Ulysses since the very beginning of the journey. They might sound harsh, but I thought you needed to hear them.

So long, Soulmen.