There are certain things I'm a sucker for, and one of these are the periodic
"bundles" of software offered to Mac users at a ridiculously low price. The
programs are digital downloads, of course, and if you want a manual, get ready to
print it out if at all. But the prospect of getting around $450 or so in software
for about one-tenth of that amount is hard to resist.
It kind of feels like legalized shoplifting, oxymoronic as it may sound.
I don't recall seeing similar promotions with the same frequency in the Windows
world, but every six months or so, a Web site such as MacBundleBox,
www.macbundlebox.com, offering 12 different programs for the Mac in a bundle for a
limited time. I've not sampled all the programs, but there's certainly enough
here to interest most users.
Why do software creators do this? Well, to get exposure for their programs and gain
a raft of new customers who'll continue to upgrade to newer versions, or the next
level of their products, presumably at higher prices.
Consider Softpress, developers of Freeway Express, a "drag and drop" application
for creating Internet Web pages. Their $79 program competes with Apple Inc.'s
far-more-famous iWeb. Not having Apple's cash reserves, making Freeway Express
part of the MacBundleBox offering will likely introduce lots of folks to the firm
and its wares.
The same could be probably be said for MAX Programming, LLC, a Spanish firm run by a
French programmer, Stanley Roche Busk. The firm offers something called iCash, aimed
at helping folks keep track of their spending, something Intuit's
category-dominating Quicken also does. Mr. Busk likely considers the idea of
"seeding" copies of iCash in the hands of users as an inexpensive form of
And on the list goes in promotions such as this one. In the MacBundleBox, buyers
will also get a copy of DEVONthink, an electronic file cabinet that'll hold
all sorts of digital files, index them, and help you find 'em in a hurry. Another
notable item is a collection of templates for use with Keynote, the Apple, Inc.,
As mentioned, buyers get 12 programs for just under $50. The sponsors say they'll
donate 10 percent of all bundle revenue to Charity:Water, an organization "that
brings fresh, clean drinking water to the one billion people on earth that don't
have access to it," as the Web site indicates.
The Mac platform is conducive to the downloading, use and removal of programs: in
many, if not most, cases, it's a matter of dragging an unwanted program to the
Trash folder in order to uninstall the software. Where that's not the case, I've
almost always seen an "uninstaller" included with the original program. This
means users can try - and trash, if desired - a given program easily.
So all around, the MacBundleBox, and similar promotions, seem like a good idea.
I've never found a malicious program in the bunch, and while some applications
were not ones I've kept, I have found a few winners in the bunch.
The key is to keep a diversity of programs available to users, letting them try out
new and potentially useful applications without a lot of hassle. As I said, it's
not a bad idea. The promoters are even offering trial versions of all the programs,
another common feature of these deals.
One other common feature: the bargains don't last long, so it's worth moving
quickly on this.
As I mentioned, I don't recall seeing many of these deals in the Windows world. If
any readers have, I'd love to hear about it.
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JWR contributor Mark Kellner has reported on technology for industry newspapers and magazines since 1983, and has been the computer columnist for The Washington Times since 1991.Comment by clicking here.