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OF Pricing: The great debate of '08 Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
First, I thank everyone for their comments and want to encourage our customers to continue to let us know how they feel about pricing. Normally I like to keep business issues "in house" but I think this warrants a public post and overall Omni likes to err on the side of open-communication. So, in the interest of transparency, I'll go over some of the factors that contribute to the pricing of OmniFocus.

Just like any form of manufacturing, we have production costs. These are part of the final product price as they are in any form of manufacturing, be it tractors or software (the Wisconsin farm boy in me reveals himself). There is a popular misconception that, once the initial development is "done", selling software is like printing money because "it's just bits". In fact, just the opposite is the case. Every unit we sell incurs a cost in the form of support and it's no small cost: we have some of the best live support of any independent Mac developer in the business and are committed to keeping it best-in-class. Support isn't just our live support team, however, it's also constant upgrades. Right now we have four developers working on just OmniFocus 1.0.1. This is part of what you get for the purchase price: a guarantee that we won't abandon development and that you can rely on constant improvement and innovation. It really is a lot like growing corn, actually. While the corn "grows itself" in some respects, in reality it needs a lot of care, tending and even after harvest there's a lot of work to be done (and, just like our release cycles, once one harvest is done the next cycle begins).

However, the most important thing that you get with the purchase of any Omni product is the creativity and technical skill of our team here. I joined Omni because they were some of the brightest and most technically skilled developers I've ever seen. There are so many great things in store for OmniFocus (and all our apps). When you buy an Omni app, you're getting our full commitment to ongoing development, new features, new add ons, etc.

Selling an application too cheaply may see higher short term sales volume (units) and may also make some people happier (only in the short term however) but we'd then either collapse under the increased support volume (and the responsiveness of our support teams would decrease) or we'd end up with not enough cash flow to pay engineers to develop the next point release. Those that were happy about saving a few dollar at purchase time would be very, very disappointed with the end result.

So there you have the basics. We have to charge enough to stay in business, provide support, develop fixes and the next release and allow us to develop new, cool apps at the same time. $50 for OmniFocus doesn't get us there. I wish it did, but it doesn't.

If you perceive the quality of engineering inside the application, if you know the value of live support, if you value the ongoing development, I think that you'll support us with your purchase. If you don't then either we need to do a better job of communicating our quality and commitment or it's just not what you're in the market for. Personally, I think it's the former issue most of the time. I firmly believe that most people want quality, support, etc. We'll continue to work on communicating the quality and benefits of purchasing Omni products effectively to our current and future customers.

I hope this longish post helps clarify the factors that contribute to our pricing. Again, I want to emphasize how seriously we take the pricing of the applications and user feedback on this issue. Please let us know how you'd like to see the value of the applications better communicated and I'll be taking notes :)

I bought it at a discount. I would not have bought it at full price.
I bought OF at full price. I'm very happy that I did so, it's one of my best software purchases in recent memory. I did not perceive it as "expensive".

I got it at the discount price (very happily) and I too would have balked at getting at the full price at that time. However, when I did buy it I was sitting on the fence as to whether or not I actually needed OmniFocus - I wasn't really sure how the app would fit into my life as I had only really been tinkering with it up 'til then (the discount offer is what caused me to jump in and buy it). Now I'm using the app extensively, I still wouldn't be delighted to pay full price as I think it is a bit steep, but I think it would just about be worth it... Probably 30/$60 would be the sweet spot for me.

The big question in my mind, is how much the update to version 2.0 will cost and what features are going to be added before the 2.0 update. If we see things like .Mac synching and an iPhone app before version 2.0, and it is a reasonable upgrade price, I think the initial outlay will have been very worth it (at full price, that is - it was already something of a bargain at the discount price).
For myself, having received the book this is based around for christmas and finding the app being used multiple times each and every day, it seems a no brainer to spend the $80 on it.

After all, if it saves me half an hour a day, it's paid for it'self already. Whether it does that already or not, is up for debate, but I know as i go through the book more, and organise myself more, it definitely will.

So ask yourself, how much time will i need to save myself till it's paid off. 1 month? 3 months? Is that worth it to you? If not, plenty of other software packages out there to try. Hopefully at your price point.
I'm kind of surprised that some people deem OF to be too expensive at $80. While $80 might be a lot of money for some (although I can't really imagine that genuinely being the case, as Macs aren't exactly cheap either), I find it even more surprising that the same people say that OF would be OK at $50 or so.

I gather that these prices are gut estimates and not derived from counting features and putting a "price tag" on them. But what makes a tool "worth" its price at $50 that makes it "overpriced" at $80?

I bet each one of us on this forum has spent $30 on some crap we've used once and then never again - I know I have ;) So why not invest in some already very cool software with huge potential and great support and finally start getting your life in order? Would that be worth $80?

I hope I didn't offend anyone with this post. If I did, please accept my apologies.


P.S.: I got OF at a discount as a previous owner of OO Pro, but I would have paid $80 without batting an eye. And I also should mention that I own OmniGraffle and OmniWeb, too, and OmniPlan is on my shopping list. So I'm fairly biased ;)
To put the cost of OF into context, it might be useful to compare OF's cost to other similar products.

For Franklin-Covey methodology followers - -
  • PlanPlus for Windows @ $80
  • PlanPlus for Outlook @ $100
  • PlanPlus Online (sorry . . . no easy to find price info)

Lifebalance is $80

Some other GTD applications for comparison - -

Nozbe (web-based GTD)
  • Free Version (1 custom context and 5 projects)
  • Basic Version (10 custom contexts and 30 projects) @ $47/2 years
  • Pro Version (30 custom contexts and 100 projects) @ $95/2 years
  • Super Version (100 custom contexts and 1000 projects) @ $143/2 years

David Allen is pushing an Outlook add-on for $70 (plus the cost of Office, Windows, and something to run a vm on your mac)

Midnight Inbox is $35

iGTD is free for now (my opinion: v1 was only half-baked, and they moved on to v2 which is alpha - guess you get what you pay for)

kinkless GTD is free for OmniOutliner Pro users

Things will be $49 (still in development)

So . . . . there are options for the cost sensitive.

It is hard to imagine that any professional is going to think twice about OF's price if they are already using GTD. If someone is new to GTD and especially if they have not committed to GTD, then even $35 is going to make most people think twice. This is the problem that all automated organizers face to some extent. The most significant cost is not the cost of the software; it is the cost (in terms of time) to learn the system it is based on.

Last edited by yucca; 2008-02-10 at 09:27 AM..
In the end you always get what you pay for...

If I'm even remotely serious about applying the GTD methodology my first and foremost concern is not saving 20 or 30 dollars, but that the tool I use needs to be a "safe bet". You don't get that from - sorry - half-assed freeware and I'd have trouble sleeping if I trusted a web-based service with my life's and business' most crucial data.
Everyone has the right to decide how much they're willing to pay for software. However, unless someone is intimately familiar with the costs involved in producing a given application, they shouldn't accuse Omni of charging excessively. Excessively by what standard of measurement? What's convenient for one particular person to pay? That number may be important for guiding one person's spending habits, but isn't necessarily significant to the rest of the world. Everyone has a different utility value for their marginal $80.

Most people are ignorant of the costs of software development. They tend to see evident things (like application functionality) and overlook hidden things (like amortized research costs, which are high for an graphic-user-interface intensive application).

Furthermore, Omni is targeting a niche market (Mac users) with a niche product (specialized productivity tools) and doing a super job in design and quality control. (I've used release apps far less stable than the OmniFocus beta.) If they're trying to make as much money as possible, they're in the wrong business.

The most effective, and most civil, way to communicate one's feelings about a product is to a) decide to buy it or not, b) either say "Hey, great product!" or "Sorry, this was too expensive for me." There's no need to impugn a company's business practices, particularly when they're as focused on the end-user as Omni is.

Why oh why does this topic continue to come up? It's fine that Ethan made an attempt--a very good one, by the way--at explaining why the price of OF is what it is, but I don't think he had to. I love the fact that all of you price critics have absolutely no skin in the game when it comes to The Omni Group. You're not an investor or an employee who is dependent on the continued success of the company. You're a consumer who simply thinks it "costs too much," a highly subjective and disputed opinion, I should point out. There are thousands, dare I say, millions of people out there who would never pay the price that Apple charges for their Macs. I mean, after all, they're just computers, right? But you have obviously placed a certain value on owning one, and feel that it's worth the price. Indeed, it is that same subjectivity that applies to every single thing we own whether it's a car, a new TV, cellphone, or a stupid pair of pre-ripped jeans for $500. (For example, I don't see the value of paying $5.00 for a cup of coffee or $3.50 for a bottle of water. Okay, so what! Apparently, a lot of people do. Otherwise, Starbucks and Evian wouldn't have lasted as long as they have. But what am I supposed to do, argue with them about their pricing? No, I just don't buy their products.)

Oh, and then there are the good and wise price gurus out there. You know, those of you who have never seen Omni's financials, but are still able to divine a price that you feel in your infinite wisdom is the proper one for OF. Excuse me, but do you also read palms? I mean, because for you to intuit that kind of stuff so easily without any actual hard facts to trifle with is truly amazing.

So, to those of you who think that $80.00 is too much to pay for OF, I will say the same thing that I said in another similar post: You don't like the price, then don't buy the product. There now, wasn't that easy?

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