∞ 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.”