Ken Case, the president of the Omnigroup, posted this interesting post today in which he was reflecting back on 2013 and looking forward. In the post, he notes how Apple’s WWDC dramatically impacted Omni’s course of action.
It did that there’s no doubt. In Feb of last year they were planning this major release to OmniFocus, OmniFocus 2. Many people were purchasing Omni’s product line based on this as OmniFocus 1 is very difficult to use and dated while OmniFocus 2 was very modern and fit with the product line.
Shifts occurred last year but many people had no idea what was going on. I had a pretty good idea what they were doing though. They shifted all their efforts to deliver an OmniFocus 2 product for the iPhone to be compatible with the new metaphor at the launch of IOS 7. They were there for the launch party with a new product in hand.
However, they burned a lot of people along the way and possibly a lot of bridges. In not delivering OmniFocus 2 for the Mac my view is it was a strategic mistake. Further, they had architectural problems they weren’t talking about and realized Mavericks was the answer. They are now going to release an OmniFocus 2 for Mavericks solely and it won’t work on operating systems prior to this. Many people again are not planning to move to Mavericks yet and so once again they’ve impacted people’s plans.
What’s worse though is they had a huge beta test community who were not under non-disclosure that they left hanging in the lurch with no place to go but back to OmniFocus 1 when they made these decisions around OmniFocus 2 and stopped work on a product people had worked with for well over six months.
My view is Omni made strategic mistakes and impacted a number of people negatively. They’ve impacted themselves negatively as there are many who refuse to buy OmniFocus solely based on how old, dated and difficult to use OmniFocus 1 is.
This post is interesting and tries to put a nice spin on things for Omni watchers. However, there was nothing that compelled them to suddenly abandon the OmniFocus 2 ship and work on IOS 7 solely. Mavericks is also far more strategic than IOS 7. IOS 7 is how Jony Ives perceives design; a minimalistic approach is what he will always take to hardware and software.
Mavericks though on the other hand is a thought through system and has been re-engineered at the operating level of the product to meet today’s demanding needs for applications and more assuredly the applications that are coming.
Omni will of course survive their decisions. However, they burned a lot of people in the process. I don’t believe they bet on the right pony but at some point they would have had to address the requirements of IOS 7. The right pony would have been Mavericks. The right first software would have been what they were doing in the first place and that was OmniFocus 2 for the Mac.