TextExpander, a popular Mac app for creating quick keyboard phrase shortcuts, made a big change today as it released the latest version of its app: you’ll now need to pay a monthly fee.

Until today, the app’s development was funded by charging for each major upgrade – version 5, for example, cost a one-time fee of $19.95. Now, you’ll need to pay $4.95 per month for access, or $9.95 per month if you’re part of a team.

TextExpander 6 introduces a new syncing engine, built by the company itself, for sharing your snippets across devices or people. That’s instead of iCloud and Dropbox, which were previously available for syncing.

The new team functionality is interesting, given you can quickly share snippets across multiple people, which is useful for sales teams or developers that frequently share blocks of text.

The update justifies the change by introducing the syncing core, but on the surface it’s a strange pivot to the Software as a Service type model for an app that you wouldn’t have expected to pay for on a regular basis, particularly when it allowed syncing in other ways previously.

As a user who paid for the previous versions of the apps, I’m saddened by the move as I’m already experiencing ‘paid subscription service debt.’

It feels like I have to pay for too many things on a regular basis like Netflix, GitHub, Mailchimp, Spotify, SoundCloud and more instead of owning them outright. There’s only so much mental space we, as consumers, have for subscription services.

The update looks great, and TextExpander 6’s new business model guarantees development for the future – the catch, of course, is if people are willing to pay each month after years of outright ownership.

As developers, like Panic, have publicly struggled to monetize Mac apps and fewer big-name developers come to the platform

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