inessential by Brent Simmons

NetNewsWire Status: Everything I Know

People ask me — on Twitter, in person, in chat, via email — how NetNewsWire is coming along. (I just got another email this morning.)

Answer: I don’t know. Yes, I do see Black Pixel employees in person once or twice a month, but they don’t tell me. (The employees I see don’t necessarily know. But, if they did, it wouldn’t be right to talk about internal stuff like that, so they don’t.)

All I know is what I read on Twitter:

We are still working on NetNewsWire, but don’t have any timeline information to share about future updates.

NetNewsWire was sold to Black Pixel in June 2011. It has been updated: at least one 3.x update to the Mac version, and a Mac 4.0 beta program.

I did, at one point (last Summer, I think), contact them about buying it back, and Black Pixel declined right away (we didn’t get as far as discussing terms). (It would have been a great story, right? NetNewsWire and I go from Ranchero Software to NewsGator; NetNewsWire gets placed safely in Black Pixel’s hands as NewsGator turns into an enterprise company; NetNewsWire returns to Ranchero Software.)

And that’s all I know.

I’d still be interested in buying it back, but I strongly suspect this is off the table, or so expensive that it wouldn’t make sense. (The expensive part isn’t the code, it’s the name.)

What I would have done with it: Mac version only. Syncing would be via Feedly, Feedbin, etc.

The idea is that it would be easy to get into — since it would sync with something you’re probably already using — and it would be easy to mix-and-match. You could run NetNewsWire on your Mac and Unread on your iPhone. (I use Unread: I’m a fan. There are other good readers, too.)

I’d make it a for-pay app, probably $24.99 or thereabouts — and not really worry about it making money. (Because I wouldn’t need it to, and because I’d be working on it with a more powerful motivation: love.)

Black Pixel could take the above as unsolicited advice: go Mac only, and sync with an existing service. One developer and an occasional designer could do this.

But I suspect they’ve made other choices, and development is probably pretty far along — so, instead, I’ll just relax and let them surprise me. There are great developers at Black Pixel, and I stand by to be delighted.