Need advice on shutting down a commercial software project.
November 8, 2011 10:47 AM Subscribe
I've reached a point where I don't have the desire to continue developing my commercial software product. I need some help on deciding what to do with it.
posted by anonymous to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It's supported me for the last 7 years, and I have had many thousands of customers. I suspect that less than 10% of the user base still uses the application though, and annual sales are currently 25% of what they once were.
My first instinct was to open source the entire project, announce that it was ending, and stop taking sales orders. However, the application depends on multiple commercial libraries which I've licensed over the years. Three of those libraries have been abandoned without the copyright owners providing contact info, and two of the components are still being sold and can not be open sourced. Those five components are critical to the application, and there aren't open source equivalents.
With the added complication of the commercial libraries, I'm leaning on just ending the project and discontinuing support after myapp's terms end (basically I agreed to provide email and forum support for 1 year after purchase).
So my thinking is that I can announce the application will be discontinued at a certain date, stop taking sales on that date, then continue to support it for a year, then close shop.
My customers run the gamut from individuals to large corporations, and in some cases I know it's part of an established corporate workflow. I want to help my existing customers, but I can't imagine this thing going on forever.
Any ideas? Have you been in this situation before? What was your expectation as either a customer or a developer?
FWIW, there are applications that do something similar, though not exactly. I cater to a particular industry, and this industry is somewhat ignored by the big players. The application is in the $50-75 range. Why do I want to quit? I really want to do something else with my life now. I've worked 80 hour weeks for years and I've saved enough to take some serious time off. I'd like to wake up and not look at a computer screen. I'd also like to do this in an upstanding way. Throwaway email: firstname.lastname@example.org