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Popular Design App 'Sketch' Leaves Mac App Store Due to Poor Customer Experience

Bohemian Coding has announced that its popular design app Sketch is no longer available in the Mac App Store because, after a lengthy decision making process, the developers felt that directly licensing the software outside of Apple's storefront will provide customers with a better experience.

In a blog post on its website, the Sketch team highlighted some of the Mac App Store's limitations, including a lengthy app review process, sandboxing and no upgrade pricing. Sketch stresses this was not a knee-jerk reaction to the Mac App Store's recent expired certificate problem, but that issue did compound the situation.

Sketch said the Mac App Store's customer experience has not progressed like its iOS counterpart:
We’ve been considering our options for some time. Over the last year, as we’ve made great progress with Sketch, the customer experience on the Mac App Store hasn’t evolved like its iOS counterpart. We want to continue to be a responsive, approachable, and easily-reached company, and selling Sketch directly allows us to give you a better experience.

There are a number of reasons for Sketch leaving the Mac App Store—many of which in isolation wouldn’t cause us huge concern. However as with all gripes, when compounded they make it hard to justify staying: App Review continues to take at least a week, there are technical limitations imposed by the Mac App Store guidelines (sandboxing and so on) that limit some of the features we want to bring to Sketch, and upgrade pricing remains unavailable.
Sketch is among a growing number of apps that are no longer sold in the Mac App Store, including professional HTML and text editor BBEdit and web development tool Coda. By selling their apps directly, developers not only get around the Mac App Store's technical limitations, but also do not have to split 30% of sales revenue with Apple.

Bohemian Coding has provided instructions for Mac App Store users to migrate to the directly licensed version of the app in a FAQ on its website, which is required for future software updates. The development team does not rule out a possible return to the Mac App Store "in the longer term" if the necessary changes have been made.
Moving to a direct version of Sketch does not require a re-purchase. Simply download the latest copy of Sketch here, replace the old version in your Applications folder, and we will issue you a license for Sketch absolutely free of charge. Just follow the steps in-app to complete the transfer. We will also migrate your presets and templates across, so you won’t lose any data in the process. We’ve made it as simple and painless as we possibly can.
Sketch is a professional design app for Mac for creating user interfaces, websites, icons and more. The software received an Apple Design Award in 2012 and was consistently a top ranked app on the Mac App Store. Sketch continues to sell for its regular price of $99 with a free trial available.

Top Rated Comments

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12 months ago
Still don't get what the bad experience is .... I have nothing but good experience through the appStore. I don't end up on any unwanted mailing lists just because I bought something and I don't have to save any licensing files that I need to find when I want to install the app on my other macs (or have to buy again because those licenses are limited to the mac where they were bought for).

MAS is awesome for me. There are many great companies that sell outside of the MAS that also provide good experience, but many are not. MAS is just easy to use and convenient for me (and I know that the company does not get my email or other info that the might use to spam me).

The only problem for companies is that there is no upgrade pricing ... that is the one thing Apple needs to add to the MAS.
Rating: 30 Votes
12 months ago

And the insane price for the app couldn't be the problem? Sketch does not do enough to be entitles of 99$...

Here come the cheap skates. My advice is to get a better paying job. This is a professional app and the price is totally reasonable. Don't buy it if it's too expensive. But please stop trying to suggest that $99 is a lot of money for a professional app. That's just bull.
Rating: 25 Votes
12 months ago
The Mac App Store was brilliant when first introduced to consolidate the apps you wanted and trusted in one location, but Apple has done nothing with it since it was introduced.

I would love to see:

(1) Upgrade pricing

(2) Review threads. There are a lot of impatient and bad-tempered reviews posted that I would love to argue against to help defend developers that make really good apps
Rating: 19 Votes
12 months ago
Three reasons to leave: (1) don't like sandboxing and want to access customer's private data more. (2) want to get more money (3) was unhappy with customer's reviews. :rolleyes:
Rating: 18 Votes
12 months ago

I'm not sure how much longer the MAS can remain a sustainable entity for either Apple or developers.

The App Store is FAR from hurting. A couple apps that a small group of people care about choosing to leave the App Store won't hurt them by any means.
Rating: 17 Votes
12 months ago
First of many, IMO.
Rating: 15 Votes
12 months ago
Fair enough! I like the App Store for many kinds of things, Steam for others, and I buy directly for still others.

People were worried that the App Store would become the ONLY option on Mac. Well, fear not. It's great to have, especially for people who aren't technical, and I hope it improves and gets some long-awaited Apple love. But I'm glad non App Store software sales remain a thing.

(No opinion on this particular app's value.)

First of many, IMO.

Not the first. Devs often come and go, as with any store.

I'm not sure how much longer the MAS can remain a sustainable entity for either Apple or developers.

Sustainable for Apple forever. Doesn't have to be profitable on its own (which I imagine it is anyway), it just has to provide non-technical users with the same simple, trusted, secure software source they are used to from iOS. Instead of asking them to accurately judge the security of every random direct download on the Internet.

Sustainable for developers? There isn't one answer. For some yes, for some no. And Apple COULD make changes to improve things. (But many of the changes SOME developers ask for amount to "loosen the security," and that ain't happening. As it shouldn't.)
Rating: 14 Votes
12 months ago
They cite:
1. Review times of one week or above;
2. Sandboxing limiting possibilities;
3. No upgrade pricing.

My opinion:
1. Don't see this being a problem if more attention was given to testing and software quality which is a well-known problem with Sketch. Facebook and many others are able to deliver features and bug fixes with a 2-week review cycle;

2. Would be nice to understand what possibilities they're referring to, but my opinion is: fix your bugs first, improve the current workflow next, focus on adding features when Sketch matures;

3. Heard this complain multiple times, never seen an opinion on alternative revenue models such as the one Adobe employs (subscription).
Rating: 14 Votes
12 months ago
And the insane price for the app couldn't be the problem? Sketch does not do enough to be entitles of 99$...
Rating: 8 Votes
12 months ago

I don't buy anything from these guys anymore since they bamboozled me with their last two font apps.

It's pretty funny that the biggest complainers about the MAS, the ones that love to wax on about their relationship with their customers tend to be those developers that have sold apps only to abandon them leaving users high and dry.

I'm looking at you Bohemian and Realmac.

Stop ********ting us. You're here for the money not to make me as a customer feel all warm and tingly.

as for MAS. Apple's focus over the next two generation of releases should be to consolidate the stores and unify functionality. Right now everything is silo'd data. Sandboxing should address the most egregious of developer complaints. It's been years and MAS apps are safe. It's ok to allow a bit more flexibility IMO.

Let's stop dreaming that the "old" way is superior. I don't love having to track my serial numbers or contact developers for licensing information. I don't love having to deal with 50 different ways of registering or authenticating apps. The old way was a crapshow but Apple does have to fix their god awful stores. It's bad when your virtual store is worse in functionality than a brick and mortar.
Rating: 8 Votes

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