I have a very blunt and very sensitive question:
As old timers will surely remember, the typical price of applications like ObjectDock, WindowBlinds, Fences, etc, was around the $20-$25 USD mark for many years. Winstep applications were - and are - no exception.
Something to take into account is that these are prices that remained unchanged for nearly 20 years, while the cost of living never stopped increasing. I think this is something unique to the Windows utility software business.
To give you an idea, an application that cost $19.95 back in 1999 should now cost over $28.89 to make up for inflation alone. The $39.90 price of Winstep Xtreme in 2001 is equivalent to $56.90 in today's money - yet Winstep Xtreme still sells today for the same price it sold for over 16 years ago (!).
The above introduction was to try and get you to see things from a developer's perspective. Now for the sensitive part (sensitive because I have to talk about Stardock's current pricing for these type of utilities in a Stardock owned forum - threading thin ice here despite Winstep's good relation with Stardock, so I will try getting to the point as fast as possible):
A few years ago, when Stardock shifted its attention from Windows customization to the gaming market, it slashed the prices of all their Windows customization applications by 50% or more: applications that used to cost $19.95 (such as Fences, WindowBlinds and ObjectDock) are now being sold for only $9.99, with ObjectDock being sold for the extremely low price of $4.99 (presumably because it is no longer in active development).
Basically it shifted the prices of full blown PC applications to those of - normally rather simplistic - cell phone apps you can buy in the Google or Apple online stores.
While I can understand why Stardock did this from a business perspective, from my personal (and Winstep's) perspective what this also did was lower the perceived value of Windows customization applications as a whole, e.g.; judging solely by today's prices, Winstep Nexus Ultimate is five times more expensive than ObjectDock, thus terribly expensive by comparison.
But this is only from the skewed perspective that $4.99 is a fair price for an application like ObjectDock (it's not!), because if you take inflation into account the price of Nexus Ultimate should now be in the region of $38, not the $24.95 it actually costs.
Throughout all this price slashing, Winstep prices were kept the same, i.e.; at their minimum fair levels for what the Winstep applications actually do and the amount of time and work put into them. It could not be otherwise, given that Winstep is a small company that does not have a gaming side to fund its Windows customization side. From this perspective, not getting into a price war it simply could not win was a good decision. Or, at least, the only viable decision - and it worked for Winstep.
Of course, this does not prevent me from worrying: worrying that due to Stardock's current pricing and despite the reasoning above, Winstep applications might be being perceived by many here as too expensive.
To make matters worse, some governments started taxing online goods a couple of years ago with as much as 23% VAT.
This all adds up.
Some people think that the less something costs, the more it will sell, making up for the lower price with higher quantities sold. This is only true up to a point as the law of diminishing returns soon kicks in, and if you go overboard it can actually have a negative impact - everyone has an idea of how much something is worth in their heads (which is more or less the price they would be willing to pay for it) and if something is priced way too low in relation to that perceived value, then the reasoning immediately shifts to 'something is probably wrong with it/you get what you pay for'. This is one of the reasons people usually prefer buying more expensive brands than their cheaper but generic equivalents - whenever possible, they prefer quality over price.
On the other hand it is also true they prefer established brands over lesser known brands, the same way it's also very possible for a company to price itself out of business, as costs remain the same or increase and lowering prices is easy, but raising them back up not so much.
Now, I know for a fact that people who buy Winstep applications have zero complaints about the price once they realize - by actually using the applications - their full potential and how much value is really packed into them. They can perceive for themselves the huge amount of work and attention to detail that was put into those applications.
So, my question is: given all of the above, do you feel that Winstep applications are expensive?