In a blog post today, Bohemian Coding announced it was taking its flagship product, Sketch, out of the Mac App Store. While perhaps considered by some as a move to increase revenue, Bohemian Coding's actions are not surprising. The Mac App Store simply has not matured as well as its iOS counterpart.
We've seen a wave of this activity in 2015. Realmac Software (makers of RapidWeaver and this fine blogging platform), Panic (the equally excellent Transmit and Coda), and other notable publishers are coming to the same conclusion: the Mac App Store—with its sandboxing, lack of trial/upgrade options, lack of ability to respond to reviews, and lengthy review queue—is not a sustainable option for developers or customers. And plenty of software (like Sublime Text and Adobe's ubiquitous Creative Cloud) has never been available on the Mac App Store yet has managed to attract and retain a huge following. Dan Counsell has an article outlining this very phenomenon.
As a consumer, I like the Mac App Store. It's a one-stop shop. That convenience is what has made the iOS App Store indispensable. But as a software publisher I'm not willing to make the trade-off in customer experience for discoverability. This is a harsh truth for me as I'm small, independent, and virtually unknown, but it's the right move for my future customers.
Finally, kudos to shops like Realmac Software and Bohemian Coding for making the transition from Mac App Store products to independently licensed products as painless as possible. In both cases (Ember and Sketch, respectively), my license conversions were seamless. As more publishers move away from the Mac App Store, this is the model to follow. By employing this frictionless simplicity, your customers may discover what they're missing about the App Store is...well, nothing at all.