“I’ve had a couple of people ask for my thoughts on the new FCPX release given my history with Apple and in particular my experience with how they dealt with another product that was focused (in our case almost exclusively) on professionals – the compositing software ‘Shake,'” Ron Brinkmann writes for Digital Compositing. “After Apple acquired us there was a lot of concern that Cupertino wouldn’t be willing to continue to cater to that market and, although it took a few years, that concern did indeed come to pass. The development team was gradually transitioned to working on other tools and Shake as a product was eventually end-of-life’d.”

“Let’s talk economics first. There’s what, maybe 10,000 ‘high-end’ editors in the world? That’s probably being generous. But the number of people who would buy a powerful editing package that’s more cost-effective and easier to learn/use than anything else that’s out there? More. Lots more,” Brinkmann writes. “So, a $1000 high-end product vs. a $300 product for a market that’s at least an order of magnitude larger. Clearly makes sense, even though I’d claim that the dollars involved are really just a drop in the bucket either way for Apple.”

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“So what else? I mean what’s the real value of a package that’s sold only to high-end guys? Prestige? Does Apple really need more of that? …And really, from a company perspective high-end customers are a pain in the ass. Before Apple bought Shake, customer feedback drove about 90% of the features we’d put into the product,” Brinkmann writes. “But that’s not how Apple rolls – for them a high end customers are high-bandwidth in terms of the attention they require relative to the revenue they return.”

Brinkmann writes, “After the acquisition I remember sitting in a roomful of Hollywood VFX pros where Steve told everybody point-blank that we/Apple were going to focus on giving them powerful tools that were far more cost-effective than what they were accustomed to, but that the relationship between them and Apple wasn’t going to be something where they’d be driving product direction anymore. Didn’t go over particularly well, incidentally, but I don’t think that concerned Steve overmuch… :-)”

Read more in the full article here.

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