After many long conversations, we have decided to retire Usher, our media management app: Effective March 1st, 2017, Usher will no longer be available for purchase. We will update it to fix issues that arise, but no further development will occur.
If you’ve always wanted to own Usher, you’ve got about two weeks left to make the purchase. (It’s not being abandoned, we’re just retiring it from active development, so you will be supported. However, please read the Q&A before you decide to purchase Usher.)
So what does this mean for you as an Usher user? We figure you might have questions, so we’re going to do our best to answer them here. Anything we don’t address, please feel free to bring it up in the comments, or by emailing us directly.
Why are you retiring Usher?
Usher does its video magic through QuickTime. Not the newer-and-current QuickTime X, but the original QuickTime. This lets Usher do all sorts of neat stuff, but also means it can break due to an event that crashes QuickTime—most Usher crashes are actually QuickTime crashes which then take Usher out, too.
QuickTime is very old, and obviously no longer updated. (It’s so old that it’s not even 64-bit code.) Newer video formats may cause issues, and we can’t resolve those issues in Usher because they’re actually in QuickTime. Given these age-related issues with QuickTime, we’re no longer comfortable selling and supporting Usher to new buyers, so we’ve decided it’s retirement time.
Why not make Usher work with QuickTime X?
As much as we’d love to work on integrating QuickTime X into Usher, the unfortunate reality is that we can’t presently justify the time investment it would require. Even when new, Usher served a niche audience of people who obsessed about their video collections and found iTunes/iPhoto weren’t sufficient for their needs. Unfortunately, this niche started small and has only gotten smaller over the years, and the move to streaming media instead of physical or electronic-but-owned media files has only made it worse.
Beyond the market size, we can’t just delete “old QuickTime” and insert “QuickTime X” and be done with it. The two are very different, so much so that we’d need to totally rewrite the engine that drives Usher. And that’s a huge job…and one that wouldn’t ever be paid back in sales, due to the limited market size.
The double whammy of a lack of potential customers and huge time investment to rewrite Usher mean we can’t presently justify the work required to make Usher use the newer QuickTime X.
What happens to my copy of Usher?
Nothing at all. Like all our apps, Usher is a standalone program, so it will continue to run just fine in macOS Sierra (or whatever release you’re using it in).
Going forward, we’ll work to fix any bugs that crop up, and do our best to keep Usher working with new releases of macOS. We can’t make any promises, of course, but both of us use Usher, and we’d like to keep it working for as long as possible without investing a huge amount of time in the project. (Of course, if Apple breaks “old QuickTime” at some point, that will be the end for Usher. Let’s hope they never do that.)
I bought from the Mac App Store, what happens to my version?
All Mac App Store buyers are encouraged to crossgrade to our direct version—it’s free, and you get a permanent Usher license so you never need use the App Store version again. The App Store version should get any bug fixes we release, but we’ve never tried updating a removed-from-sale app before; migrating to the direct version will ensure you always get these bug fixes. By migrating, you’ll also be able to reinstall at any time by downloading the app again from our server and applying your license file.
Can I get a refund?
If you bought directly from us, you can get a refund within 60 days of purchase. If you bought from the App Store, Apple’s official policy is no refunds, but they’ve been known to offer them if you ask nicely (and rarely).
But again, the app will continue to work fine, so there’s no need for a refund on the basis of non-functionality. But if you’d like your money back and you’re within the 60-day window, just ask.
Why aren’t you open sourcing Usher, instead of retiring it?
We can’t open source Usher because it contains code that we share between many of our apps, and we’re not willing to make that code public at this time.
Why not give it away for free?
In short because we wouldn’t be able to support the users. Yes, we could say “no support included,” but if someone has a problem with Usher and they lose their library, neither of us would be comfortable saying “Sorry, no support, it was free.” That’s not how we work. So we’d wind up with a crush of free support requests for one of our largest, most complex apps. That’s not a sustainable model.
It’s never easy to say goodbye to an application, and Usher is no different. Unfortunately, between the old QuickTime technology and small (but very enthusiastic) audience, we cannot currently justify the work required to make the program into what we know it could be.