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December 5, 2012

7

iStat Menus demotes user’s licenses with sneaky upgrade

by e1ven

For the last few years, I’ve been using a cute little tool called iStat menus to graph my CPU/Memory in my address bar.
It doesn’t do that much, but it works, it stays out of my way, and the UI is better than the nearest free alternative.

Menu2

I don’t think about the tool very much – Once in a while I’ll glance up when the system is running slow, or use the clock function to see the time in multiple time-zones.

Every so often, there’s a new version available, and the software prompts me to upgrade –

Upg1 2

Upg2 3
I generally go ahead and agree to the change, and go about my business.

Although my 1999 self would cry to hear me say it, I don’t always read through the changelogs-

We get them everywhere now – On my Android Phone (Yep, go ahead, update), iPhone (Sure. Update), OSX (OK, add the new release), etc.

In my professional life managing servers, I review the changes, weigh the pros and cons, and decide if I want to upgrade – But for a simple Menu app, that seems overkill.

This week, iStat released another upgrade, and once more I upgraded without really paying much attention.
I probably should have, but realistically, I don’t think most users will.
Upg3

As you can see in the screenshot however, this upgrade to iStat Pro 4 is a paid upgrade.
Accepting this upgrade downgraded my paid software to 14-day trial status.

Trial

I’m not the only one who felt that wasn’t cool.

iStat is offering upgrade pricing ($9), and the app isn’t that expensive in and of itself, but the entire process felt very sketchy.[1]

Users are used to accepting in-app upgrades, and switching one out for a paid-upgrade feels very disingenuous, regardless of their justifications.
Bjango (the creators) could have handled things differently,by setting the “Remind me Later” Dialog option to be the blue/rightmost option, or even installing as a different name in the Applications folder, so you could still easily fire up v3.

Admittedly, It’s a minor issue, $9 isn’t much, and I don’t begrudge an indie shop trying to raise money for a new version and stand in business, but the sense of fairplay has been violated- It’s one more reason for me to try to avoid buying non App Store applications in the future.

For anyone else who runs into this, You can uninstall iStat 4 using the menu item-
Uninstall
And then reinstall Version 3.


[1]For what it’s worth, I did end up buying the upgrade. The UI is a bit nicer.
This isn’t about the $9. It’s about the process.

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7 Comments Post a comment
  1. Jazz
    Dec 20 2012

    I do agree that nine bucks to upgrade isn’t much but I feel I was swindled into just clicking the update button as well. I was totally unaware that the new iStat Menus 4 had a price tag. The developers most definitely should have made it more visible for its users to see.

    Not pleased at all. Because of this I shall stick to version 3. Thanks for the link. Although it does look nicer, I shall be uninstalling iStat Menus 4.

    Reply
    • e1ven
      Dec 20 2012

      I feel that they were deceptive and tricksome, which is disappointing because I like their product overall, and always try to support indie companies where possible.

      Reply
  2. Chuck
    Dec 20 2012

    Thanks for your post – now I know why I got all those exclamation mark icons on 12/20. Poor handling of customer relations, Bjango. Backing out to version 3.

    Reply
  3. eixvbmws
    Dec 21 2012

    I am DISGUSTED with Bjango for this! Even though i knew it was a paid update, the promised to easily downgrade back to 3 if we didn’t want the paid upgrade. However, what they didn’t tell you is you LOOSE ALL YOUR SETTINGS AND HAVE TO FIND YOUR OLD REGISTRATION AND RE-REGISTER THE WHOLE F’ING THING. I AM SOOOOO PISSED OFF.

    Reply
  4. Miljj
    Dec 21 2012

    So annoyed by this that I refuse to pay the upgrade fee to Bjango. Am going back to menu meters and going to donate.

    Reply
  5. Dec 21 2012

    Hey e1ven…thank you for your time posting this information! I did fall for the “update” and today I need to buy to continue using version 4 as the trail is over! I purchased istat on 12/27/2011 and now I have to pay again! I agree, nine bucks, np…but very deceptive!
    I am uninstalling and will download version 3. Thanks for the link to version 3 and I should have just replied to ‘Jazz’…DITTO!
    Merry Christmas Everyone!!!

    Reply
  6. Alan Cox
    Dec 24 2012

    I agree that the upgrade process was very unfair and I upgraded without really reading the small print which I should have really done. As stated it’s not a large amount of money to pay but when I tried to go back to version 3 it wouldn’t accept my old registration number and said that I had to buy an upgrade to version 4.
    This is what I am really annoyed about is that I have now been denied the chance to get back something that I paid for and I will not be “forced” to buy in this way – so it’s goodbye to anything from this company.

    Reply

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