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When I heard Omni was coming out with a project manager, I thought great: it will be both beautiful and affordable.

But now that they've released the intended pricing ($150), it seems they're following the (small) crowd of other Mac PMs and pricing it relatively high. This is very disappointing to me. I mean, it costs almost twice as much as OmniGraffle!

Of course I understand their thinking: the conventional wisdom is that it's a relatively small niche, and all the competitors are pricey, so why not go for the gold? Also, project management is a rather "corporate" type of application (probably not too many home users would use a PM to, say, plan Thanksgiving dinner), and corporations have deep pockets.

I'd like to suggest a bit of unconventional thinking: there are LOTS of potential users who may not have a critical need for a PM, but are intrigued by the idea and would be willing to spend a modest sum on one to experiment with and use for occasional projects. Me, for instance. Years ago I used an early PM in my corporate gig. Now that I'm on my own and the software I buy is paid for out of my own pocket, I can't justify the high price for something I'd use only sporadically. I absolutely won't buy OmniPlan for $150. But if it was $50, I'd be sorely tempted. And if I came to depend on it, I'd almost certainly buy a "Pro" upgrade. I suspect there are lots of other folks in the same situation.

If I ran OmniGroup, I'd offer a "Lite" version of OmniPlan at an entry-level price. Naturally, there would be an upgrade option just like with Outliner and Graffle (BOTH of which I originally bought then paid to upgrade to the Pro versions).

So how about it, OmniGroup? You could own a whole new (and much larger) low end of the PM market (and seed a lot of future upgrades) just by offering OmniPlan Lite at a breakthrough price. Oh, and don't respond "that's what the 30-day free trial is for." Time-limited trials simply don't cut it for busy people who can only evaluate new software in brief snatches of time, and may have to put it aside for weeks at a time. And I'll bet there are plenty of users who, after evaluating the program, would say "I like this $50 worth, but not $150 worth."

(By the way, the same comments apply to the upcoming OmniFocus.)