∞ Pixelmator goes exclusive to Mac App Store

If you want to download Pixelmator, the popular image editing software for the Mac, the Web site will push you to the Mac App Store. The developers have taken the bold move of announcing that the Mac App Store is becoming their exclusive sales channel.

[ad#Google Adsense 300×250 in story]Since its first release in 2007, Pixelmator has distinguished itself as an easy-to-use and inexpensive image editing application for Mac OS X. Priced normally at $59, it costs a tiny fraction of what Adobe charges for Photoshop but provides many similar capabilities. By using core Mac OS X image manipulation technology, Pixelmator is able to operate much more efficiently on a broader range of hardware.

Those attributes have already gained Pixelmator a legion of enthusiasts. Now the Pixelmator Team – the Dailide brothers, Saulius and Aidas – are asking users new and old to follow them to the Mac App Store. In a post on the company’s Web site, the Dailides explain that they are “fully committed” to the Mac App Store.

Mac App Store “a win for both customers and developers”

While physical copies of the software are still available through Amazon.com and other retailers, Saulius Dailide says that the plan is ultimately to make the Mac App Store the one place for Mac users to buy Pixelmator.

“We think the Mac App Store is the future of Mac app sales and distribution,” Dailide told The Loop. “I don’t think anything could stop us from going exclusively to the Mac App Store.”

Dailide points to the Mac App Store customer experience and its integrated application updating system as key reasons why the Pixelmator Team is moving their sales there. From their perspective, the Mac App Store also lets Saulius and his brother “focus on development instead of marketing.” They don’t have to worry about serial number encryption schemes or managing their own Web store, either.

“That’s a win for both customers and developers,” said Dailide. “We will drive customers to the Mac App Store by developing great apps.”

Early in the iOS App Store’s life, developers saw a race to the bottom, in which the price of iPhone applications dropped dramatically. That was when 99 cent apps began to appear en masse.

Some pundits and even some developers have predicted that there will be enormous price changes for software sold through the Mac App Store, compared to what the software has cost up to now. Already some dollar Mac apps have surfaced, although most are still priced well north of that mark. Dailide doesn’t see it as a race to the bottom.

“I am sure people will buy the best apps,” Dailide said. “Prices will change slightly, however, but not to 99 cents.”

The Pixelmator Team is putting all its eggs in the Mac App Store basket, even though the technology has yet to prove itself. Within the first few hours after launch, reports surfaced indicating that hackers had cracked the store’s registration system and that certain apps purchased through the store could be easily copied between machines. Dailide seems these as short-term issues.

“We knew that would happen and we are sure that this will be fixed by Apple ASAP,” he said.

Sweetening the pot

Unfortunately, moving to the Mac App Store isn’t a seamless transition. Existing customers may feel left out in the cold, as Apple doesn’t provide a way for users of software registered outside the Mac App Store to integrate with that ecosystem. This means that if you already own Pixelmator, you’ll ultimately need to repurchase it if you want to use future major versions.

“Unfortunately we can’t do anything about that – it is just a way the Mac App Store works,” explained Dailide.

The Pixelmator Team is trying to soften that blow by offering a 50 percent off deal – the software is normally priced at $59.99, but it’s available now for $29.99.

The Pixelmator Team doesn’t plan to abandon existing users: anyone who already owns the current version of Pixelmator will get free updates until 2.0 is released. Once 2.0 is out, however, any Pixelmator users who haven’t made the transition will have to buy the new version from the Mac App Store.

“I believe even if we did not have a transition [to the Mac App Store] that was the way it would work,” said Dailide.

And to help sweeten the pot a bit further, users who purchase Pixelmator at the Mac App Store will receive version 2.0 for free.

Echoing the sentiments of many independent Mac developers who have jumped on board the Mac App Store, Dailide said, “The Mac App Store is the biggest deal in our development career.”

  • jubilau

    This is messed up – way to support the people that got you to where you are today. I bought this program 1 month ago – before the App Store was announced.

    • Guest

      The App Store was announced in October 2010 with a projected release within three months from that date. You bought Pixelmator in December, so it’s entirely your fault for not waiting.

      • Bob Cooper

        Err, how the heck do you work that out?

        • Guest

          What exactly are you having trouble understanding, Bob? Steve Jobs got on stage in October 2010 and made the announcement that there would be a Mac App Store up and running within three months. The original poster said he bought Pixelmator one month ago (meaning December), well after the App Store was announced. If he was interested in getting Pixelmator through the App Store, he should have waited until the store went live to check for its availability there before he bought a copy somewhere else.

    • Anonymous

      How does this change anything for you, though? If before the Mac App Store they were going to charge for 2.0 then this move changes nothing for you – you still get the application to use as long as you want and all 1.X updates. When 2.0 comes out you can buy it if you want. The only possible difference is that they may have offered upgrade pricing for 2.0 which will no longer be the case, although the current App Store sale with the promise of an upgrade to 2.0 is kind of like upgrade pricing before the upgrade.

      • Vamsmack

        This is exactly the way I looked at it. The $36AUD I dropped on PIxelmator after buying it already for $70AUD is upgrade pricing. In my experience upgrade pricing is about 50% of the software’s cost which would be about $35AUD for me so it all works out.

        • Upgrade pricing works by having 1.x, then buying an existing 2.x when it’s out.

          Pixelmator is asking people that bought 1.x to pay 50% to buy 1.x again for now. 2.x has not even been announced, according to their blog they want to surprise people. And when 2.x is there, the cheap upgrade price will be gone.

          This is a pretty big difference. Maybe the Pixelmator guys don’t realize it because they just see an awesome 2.x as a given.

          • Vamsmack

            You’re right. It’s a bit of a leap of faith but honestly one which if I don’t take now is going to cost me more in the long run. It may not be ideal for most but for me and how much usage I get out of their application it’s preferable to paying another $70 come version 2.0.

            It’s a controversial decision for them to make but it removes a lot of the issues that they have and may mean a faster release cycle because they don’t have to worry about serials etc

            I have a bit of faith in these guys well placed or not but their previous releases have always been for the better and so given their track record(I have been using this since ’09) I am happy to shell out the $36AUD now.

    • Yeah, it seems to me like they’re doing pretty well by you. You bought the app for $59, and you’ll still be able to update it for free until 2.0 comes out. When 2.0 comes out, you’d have to buy it for another $59 anyway, and now they’re offering it to you for $29 instead. Either way, your 1.x version won’t quit working when 2.0 comes out, should you choose not to upgrade. Not sure what you’re complaining about other than the joy of hearing yourself complain.

    • Dude


    • You


  • AVS

    This limits use to people with 10.6.6+. Isn’t it rather early for such a limit?

    • No, because Pixelmator already is Snow Leopard only. So it’s only a matter of doing a minor system update, which probably most people already did or will do in near future.

  • jt

    No more trial downloads.

    • There is a 30 day trial offered on their website, that won’t be going away. Then when you’re ready for the full app, just pop into the App Store and buy it.

      I high recommend that anyone interested in Pixelmator at all get in on the $29 deal while they can.

  • Most of the apps I use aren’t entirely appropriate for App Store distribution, but I’ll be interested to see how it shakes out for different developers over the next year.

    • Vamsmack

      What are you talking about PS, Illustrator & InDesign better be in the app store or I WILL ABANDON THEM! 😉

      I agree though. Mind you have you played with Pixelmator? It’s a great little program, I use it when I can’t be bothered dealing with PhotoShop.

    • Vamsmack

      What are you talking about PS, Illustrator & InDesign better be in the app store or I WILL ABANDON THEM! 😉

      I agree though. Mind you have you played with Pixelmator? It’s a great little program, I use it when I can’t be bothered dealing with PhotoShop.

  • Like it or not, the Mac App store is going to change the way we buy software. The days of initial price and upgrade price are numbered. Apple has already abandoned that model. Did you get an upgrade price when you bought iLife ’11? The Mac Store is forcing the new way on everyone who sells there. From now on it’s going to be a lower initial price and no upgrade pricing. Essentially, the initial price is going away and every price is the upgrade price. The Pixelmator Team sees this. There will be a painful transition period. I’m sure they’re being flooded with messages like jubilau’s. But they’re saving themselves a lot of pain down the road. We’re just going to have to get over “I already bought it. Why do I have to buy it again?”


  • Thisisjoel

    Well, no more Pixelmator for businesses:

    “You may download and use an application from the Mac App Store for personal, non-commercial use on any Apple-branded products running Mac OS X that you own or control.”

    • Vamsmack

      They said on their blog that they will keep their web store open for businesses and educational institutions.

  • Anonymous

    Sucks that it won’t get updates from the app store, but really not that big of a problem.

  • SamuraiArtGuy

    Okay.. here’s my beef.

    The Mac App Store is only available to users running Snow Leopard or better. What of the hard-working, but impoverished Designers and other working mac users that are making do with older gear that might not support Apple has already terminated their Downloads page. Apple has essentially said, we’re not interested is supporting anyone not willing to pony up for new gear. When developers go exclusive to the Mac Store, they are also cutting out that segment of the user base.

    Ironic that to get the discount on Mac Store Apps, you may have to drop $2000 for a new Mac to get in.

    • Apple is a hardware company – most of what they do is done in the service of driving people to purchase new hardware. At the risk of sounding mercenary, if you’re not refreshing your hardware and staying reasonably up to date, you’re not adding to Apple’s bottom line, so you’re not being a very useful customer for them.

  • Well, the way I see it is that if you buy Pixelmator now at $29, you’d be doing fine even if you already bought an earlier version because you’ll now have a multi computer license, instead of a license for just one machine. So it is actually a pretty good deal if you have more than one machine. I’m considering buying now, even though I already have purchase the current version from another source.

  • Anonymous

    Oh wow, OK now that is what I am talking about dude.


  • Roberta_k

    Had never discovered Pixelmator till I saw comments on the App Store; I think it’ll do what I need but at the fraction of the price (and complexity) of Photoshop. Combined with Aperture it’s going to be a great help for my current project.