The upcoming Apple App Store for Mac will have some success, inevitably. One effect of the App Store will be that Mac Software distributed in the App Store won’t need (and won’t be able) to implement custom licensing and/or registration schemes anymore, instead having to rely on App Store licensing. As users won’t have to remember this licensing stuff, license management software isn’t needed. Let’s take a look at some software soon to be a legacy genre.

Of course, the not every developer or company will offer their software on the App Store (soon) and Mac software distribution will continue outside the App Store anyway, so will custom licensing schemes. This is all the more true as we all have lots of licensed software on our computers, each with their own custom licensing schemes (license codes, license files, tied to our email addresses, to our computers, and so on) already now.

Nonetheless I don’t think the market for Mac software license managers will continue to be a profitable one. I thought about writing some Mac license management software myself (not quite satisfied with existing software) but this doesn’t seem to be a promising idea anymore: Those users of Mac software out there who need and use such a software will already possess a license to one of the license managers, those who don’t will just don’t notice that they’re missing something as the App Store will take care of everything from now on.

License Manager Icons

(from the left: Appshelf, LicenseKeeper, Licensed, myApps, LicenseManagerX, Rapido Serial, AppChest)

With Rapido Serial already gone from the market for some time now and LicenseManagerX (aka LicenseWatch) and Licensed being freeware, four license management products exist and compete for (paying) customers: Appshelf, LicenseKeeper, myApps (aka myLicenses) and AppChest. There would have been potential for new cool features in license management, but not with the App Store. A next generation license manager could only access the iOS/Mac App Store data locally stored on your Mac on bought apps, prices, updates etc. and perhaps generate a spreadsheet table of this information. It could also collect this data in a local network environment, e.g. for corporate purposes, but for what reason?

Perhaps special-interest license managers like HSTracker (a FileMaker frontend) or more multi-functional applications like 1Password and AppZapper won’t face these difficulties that much as they offer other features and license management is only a part of their functionality.