My apologies: I’m afraid we will not be able to offer upgrade pricing to our Mac App Store customers after all. So long as we continue to sell our apps through the Mac App Store, we are not allowed to distribute updates through other channels to apps which were purchased from the App Store.
We still feel upgrade pricing is important for customers purchasing serious productivity software, since the initial value received from purchasing an app like OmniGraffle or OmniPlan is much different from the incremental value of upgrading that app from version 5.0 to version 6.0. We will continue to ask Apple to support upgrade pricing in the App Store, and I would encourage others to do the same—but until that happens, upgrade pricing will only be available to customers who buy our apps direct from our online store.
September 6, 2013 update:
Not being able to offer the same discounted upgrade pricing to all our customers no matter where they’ve purchased (as we’ve previously done with retail boxes) is obviously disappointing for us. But I should note that this lack of discounted upgrade pricing actually affects a minority of our customers, because most of our customers still purchase directly from our online store (where we can offer discounted pricing).
We accepted this limitation of the Mac App Store and explained it to our customers in my original blog post at the launch of the Mac App Store (on January 6, 2011): Mac App Store or Omni’s online store? Your choice!
As I said in that original post:
The Mac App Store is the most convenient way to buy our software, letting you purchase, download, and install our apps with just one step, and easily update our apps at the same time as you update other apps you’ve purchased from the the store.
But to be clear, the Mac App Store is not the only way to buy our software: we’ll continue to offer direct sales and updates through our own website as well. Through our website, we can offer much more flexible terms and options: trial and beta downloads, upgrade pricing, and discounts for volume, bundle, and educational purchases.
No matter which way you buy our software, you’ll be getting the same product: all of our Mac App Store apps are exactly the same as the apps we sell through our website (except for a few minor changes made to work with the store). We’ll also keep future updates to our apps in sync—apps you’ve purchased directly through us will continue to update themselves as they always have, while App Store updates will appear on the App Store (after a slight delay due to the App Store’s review process). And either way, you’ll have the same great support from our team here at Omni.
All of that is still true, and two and a half years later we still think the App Store is the most convenient way to buy our software—it’s just more limited in its pricing options.