Apple’s Shrinking Commitment

Look at that – FCP Studio originally came in that big box in the upper right. It came with all those manuals in the upper left. The last iteration of FCP Studio came in that smaller box in the lower left, with a smallish book that contained mostly installation instructions. That empty space in the lower right, that’s what you get with FCP-X now. It’s a download only. No discs. No printed manuals.

In some ways, it parallels the amount of commitment Apple seems to be making to the community of people who use it’s products to make a living.

“Do it our way or…well…just do it our way,” they seem to be saying.

Money talks. When looking at the numbers I think I can see why they are going the way they are. Imagine 200,000 professional users might spend $1,200 to buy a new FCP Studio Suite. And then another 1.5 million pay $300 for the upgrade. That might net them $600-700 million for all the effort that would go into it. Think editing interface, deck control, support for all the import and export you could think of. I suspect the overhead of that development could substantially eat into those sales numbers.

Now reset and look at things from the FCP-X perspective: Yes, they’ve re-written the program from scratch, but they’ve tossed out all the hard bits – import, export, data conversion, interfacing with 20th-century videotape decks, etc. It’s all been off-loaded to third parties. But the sales numbers, oh the sales numbers…let’s be conservative and estimate about 3 million users are going to buy FCP-X in the first 2 years. At $300 per user (no upgrade discounts anymore), that’s going to be $900 million.

Seems pretty obvious to me that they’ve crunched the numbers and those few thousand of us who’ve based our operations on FCPStudio will be left out of the party.

Like I’ve said before, it’s good we have options. Make sure to keep yours open too.

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