FeedDemon and NetNewsWire are now free

NewsGator is giving away desktop feed readers FeedDemon, NetNewsWire, and NewsGator Inbox. The company hopes to regain any loss of revenue from its desktop business with new enterprise sales leads and better attention metadata. The company announced the change in pricing in a press release today and a blog post by founder Greg Reinacker.

NewsGator’s desktop feed readers previously cost about $30 each and faced some commoditization through feed reading software bundled with modern operating systems, office suites, or competitive open-source solutions. Windows client FeedDemon needs to compete with feed reading capabilities built-in to Windows Vista and Internet Explorer 7 or open-source clients such as RSS Bandit. Apple client NetNewsWire competes with Mail.app in Leopard and open-source freeware such as Vienna. NewsGator Inbox competes directly with Outlook 2007. Online competitors such as Google Reader are starting to deliver desktop-like speeds in an always up-to-date, always available model.

NewsGator differentiates its desktop client offerings from the competition through the NewsGator Online hub. Each client filters its requests for feed data through the centralized online service and synchronizes each user’s list of subscriptions, read/unread items, shared snippets, and more. NewsGator plans to use the extended user base available via its free clients to fine-tune relevancy and other metrics available through uniquely identifiable attention data.

[B]y using your data, in combination with aggregate data from other users, we can deliver a better experience for everyone. And that’s a good thing – both for us and for you.

Each desktop application can also sync with a local activity hub NewsGator is selling within enterprises. They hope free tools will infiltrate corporate America to generate new sales leads and internal advocates for bigger licensing fees.

Summary

NewsGator’s move to free is an interesting risk for a changing business. Competitors such as Attensa do not have a similar strength in the desktop client space, and NewsGator will continue to worry about Microsoft shipping an update to SharePoint that could shake up their enterprise market. In the mean time thousands of consumers will be able to download quality software for free, and the small desktop clients can continue developing cool new features funded by enterprise usage.

Update: Nick Bradbury, creator of FeedDemon, shares his thoughts on the freebies on his blog.

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3 comments

Commentary on "FeedDemon and NetNewsWire are now free":

  1. Gerald Buckley on wrote:

    Niall, makes me wonder if this is a move to try and recapture what was lost to Google Reader adoption (ie, an also free alternative)?One Mac guy to another… I haven’t used NetNewsWire since Safari gained RSS abilities and I haven’t used Safari RSS since Google Reader came along.

    • Niall Kennedy on wrote:

      Gerald,
      Online feed readers such as Google Reader are definite competition for desktop clients, especially with the recent performance increases (and Gears support) that make the UI as snappy as a CoreData-driven desktop app.I’ve always been a fan of the desktop client with quick, local access to my feeds. I access some authenticated feeds that will not work in Google Reader, and the desktop seems to best suit my workflow. Google Reader does not have an Apps for Your Domain version yet, and the Google Reader API is still not officially supported, but any feed reader developer needs to pay attention to the online giants.

  2. Jeff Nolan on wrote:

    Niall,I hope you are doing well, Happy New Year.There is one major shortcoming for web-based readers, Gears or no Gears: they can’t subscribe to feeds that are behind a firewall. This is a major requirement for our enterprise customers and it’s important to remind ourselves that the enterprise is the core of our business.It’s important for us to have a competitive online reader but online vs. desktop is not a binary decision for us, we’ll do both for the foreseeable future.Best Regards,Jeff