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Setapp is a Netflix-style App Store that’s just crazy enough to work

We have been through this before–the Mac App Store leaves a lot, a lot to be desired. For developers, there’s the lack of overall support and maintenance, the hard to deal with “sandbox,” and the inability to easily discover new good apps.

There have been competitors to the Mac App Store in the past — but none of them could truly compete with Apple. One of the other major reasons these third-party app stores have failed is because they weren’t able to convince other third-party developers to take part. In other words, there wasn’t enough incentive or belief in the new system.

That’s about to change though.

Enter Setapp

A company called MacPaw, which has been in the software development business for almost a decade, and is known for its popular Mac apps including CleanMyMac is now launching a new subscription-based Mac app store called Setapp. Think of it as a Netflix or Spotify for Mac apps.

The idea behind Setapp is to offer high quality apps and make sure they are available to users when they need them. Need an incredible text/document editor? Setapp will have you covered. Need to clear out duplicate files? No problem. MacPaw wants Setapp to have a high quality app available for everything you need to do on your Mac. And based on my early usage (I’ve taken part in the beta program for the past couple of months) they are well on their way.

A sampling of apps available via Setapp.

The way the Setapp team envisions the future is one where when you buy a new Mac or reinstall macOS, you simply install Setapp and all of your apps are just a click away. No more having to install each app, one by one.

I’m told by Egor Belenkov, who runs Business Development at MacPaw, the company is hoping to add 5 to 10 apps per month going forward with the ultimate goal to reach around 300 high quality apps in Setapp within the next few years. In the few months I’ve been beta testing Setapp, I’ve noticed consistent additions to the library of apps, so I think this seems like a realistic goal.

Getting developers onboard

Of course, the biggest challenge the folks at MacPaw will face with regards to Setapp is convincing other developers to sign on. According to Mr. Belenkov, there is no exclusivity arrangement in place, meaning developers can have their app in Setapp and continue to sell it elsewhere as well. Additionally, MacPaw has come up with a unique and incentivizing revenue share model.

Revenue is shared with developers based on how often customers use a particular application. As with many app stores, MacPaw takes 30 percent of the revenue from Setapp. But what it does with its share is especially interesting.

Of this 30 percent, it intends to use 20 percent of it as a reward for the developers who bring users to the Setapp ecosystem. The remaining 10 percent will be used to maintain Setapp including paying for infrastructure and employees.

Click on any app, see a preview of what it does before installing.

How you can check it out

While in beta, Setapp has acquired more than 30,000 users–it will be interesting to see how well those 30,000 users convert into paying Setapp subscribers, especially since I’m told the company is hoping to have 1 million users by the end of this year.

As of today, Setapp has more than 60 apps available in its library, including apps I personally love and use, such as Ulysses, Paste, iFlicks, Blogo, RapidWeaver 7, iStats Menus, XMind, and many more. Personally, I really like the concept of Setapp and think it has a lot of potential to be an amazing solution to the problem of finding quality apps to do a task. I’m excited to see where it goes from here.

Setapp is available to download and check out today. Subscriptions are $9.99 per month.


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— Jeff Weisbein

Jeff is the founder & CEO of BestTechie. He has over 10 years of experience working with technology and building businesses. He loves to travel and listen to music.


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