Notability – one of the most popular note-taking apps on iPhone, iPad, and Mac – has moved to the freemium business model. While we’ve seen this move happen with other apps before, this app is removing features that users had previously paid for. So if you’ve purchased the app and in-app purchases (IAP) to unlock additional features in the past, you’ll be treated like any other free user a year from now.
Owned by Ginger Labs, Notability announced in a Medium blog post that it will be free on the App Store. Users who previously purchased the app will get a free subscription for one year. Subsequently, they will lose all premium features in favor of a paywall, including those purchased separately as an IAP, such as handwriting recognition. This enraged users on online platforms such as Twitter and Reddit, according to MacRumors.
Hi, just to understand:
– I bought Notability
– I bought Hamdwriting Recognition (IAP)
– I bought stickers and notebooks (IAP)
Now in a year you will force me to subscribe to use the features I have already purchased (also Cloudsync) ??? !!!
– Frank (@the_alsacian) November 1, 2021
Amazed that @NotabilityApp changes to a subscription model. I’ve happily paid for the Mac and iOS versions of Notability separately since 2015, and it’s been walking me through 3 degrees now. Very disappointed that there are no acquired rights; will switch.
– Colin Whaley, MSc (@colin_whaley) November 1, 2021
This decision does not seem fair to users who had to buy the app for $ 8.99, in addition to other IAPs. Usually, apps that pass to the original freemium grandfather users and provide them with additional benefits. In this case, the initial buyers only receive one year of bonus. And that’s clearly not enough, according to their complaints online.
It also arguably violates Apple App Store guidelines. From section 3.1.2:
If you change your existing app to a subscription-based business model, you should not remove the core functionality that existing users have already paid for. For example, allow customers who have already purchased a âfull game unlockâ to continue to access the full game after introducing a subscription model for new customers.
“How to go from being a great business to being a scam.” – The courses given by @NotabilityApp
– Anderson Santos (@andersonsantos) November 2, 2021
Except you are not all “free”, are you @NotabilityApp? And you’re removing features that people like me already paid enough for and now you’re trying to get us to subscribe with that annual fee to get those features back? Madness. https://t.co/XY3fKy20Kt
– Yaad (@ Yaad10694143) November 2, 2021
Annoyed that I paid @NotabilityApp the app “upgrades” me to a subscription service. Doesn’t the App Store usually offer a new v2 app for subscription and keep the old paid app? This is the first time that I have seen a paid change to a subscription … ð
– Iain Hannah (@sciigh) November 2, 2021
Notability is currently in the top rankings for productivity apps on the App Store and carries the Editors’ Choice badge. It has grown over the years – thanks to the support of paid users – and has become one of the most recommended apps for note taking. As a result, users feel betrayed and disappointed with the way they are treated, despite their loyalty over the past few years.
Are you using Notability? If so, what do you think of their new business model? Let us know in the comments section below.
Update 1: Notability has decided to give initial buyers lifetime access to premium features
Following the outrage online across multiple platforms, it looks like Notability has decided to do the right thing, according to MacRumors. In a future update 11.0.2, initial buyers of the app will have lifetime access to existing premium features. Notability warns, however, that they cannot guarantee that new features in the future will also remain free. It all depends on maintenance costs and other factors.
The announcement was made in a tweet linked to another Company’s Medium blog post. While this move will certainly make some of the original users happy, it seems a bunch of them still feel betrayed. It is not known whether the company has reversed its decision to avoid further damage or if it actually cares about its users. Some users even claim that this decision was made to avoid being kicked from the App Store for violating Apple guidelines. There is nothing more they can do at this point anyway.
Good, but I’m going to stop using it anyway.
The damage has been done.
– Guillaume Cantin (@wilomgfx) November 2, 2021
Let’s be honest, you did this not because you care about your users, but because it goes against App Store policy. You all care about the money rather than the users!
– Ritesh ï¸âð (@therealriteshk) November 2, 2021
Apple finally emailed you, huh?
âWe want to do it rightâ¦â Yeah. I think you mean you want to stay on the App Store. Nice dishonest spin, though. https://t.co/PaOD9VUoiU pic.twitter.com/PAmrfcPVbA
– Jean (@Hi_Im_Sarno) November 3, 2021