Selling desktop applications Windows vs Mac

I would like to hear experiences about developing desktop apps for Mac. Is the app store worth it? What do you think is the future of OS X? (I’ve been reading a lot negative comments about new the Macs…)

I have a product for Windows which I’m planning to port for OS X too. I’m also pretty tired using Windows as my daily driver. Windows 10 is OK, but there are so many annoyances that I will probably just go and buy a Mac.

Comparing to Windows how much sales you make with your OS X application? I’ve heard that Mac users are more willing to pay for software.


Plenty of businesses exist that solely make desktop software for Macs. For big examples, see Panic and Omni Group. For a smaller, more recent example, see Qbserve (whose owner occasionally posts in these forums). For many years, my sole income was from a Mac desktop app (I now have a Windows version too).

The Mac app store started well, but gradually faded away in use and sales. Some of the big names in Mac software have stopped using the app store altogether. This is for various reasons, including rigid sandbox limitations on software sold in the app store, and Apple not permitting paid upgrades. For mature software, paid upgrades is an important part of the business model.

Comparing to Windows how much sales you make with your OS X application?

This is a hard question to answer in general, I’m afraid. It depends on many factors, including the type of software, the existing market, and your relative marketing effort. In my specific case, sales are roughly 50% Mac, 50% Windows, but this is probably because for years, we only sold a Mac version.


If you’ve enjoyed doing so, you can go back and read a lot of negative comments about every new Mac ever released.

Their sales have, I think, been consistently edging up for more than ten years, as overall sales of desktop and laptop PCs have shrunk. (I should go find a source for that.)


My PerfectTablePlan and Hyper Plan products are both Windows and Mac. Buying a licence entitles you to use it on either, so I can’t divide the sales between Windows and Mac. But if I look at the ratios of downloads so far this year:

78% Windows:22% Mac

Hyper Plan:
43% Windows:57% Mac

The Mac market is smaller, but generally has less competition. Mac users tend to be more affluent (they have to be to afford the hardware!). But business users tend to use Windows (except perhaps for designers and creative types).

I’ve never bothered with either Mac or WIndows app stores.


I have a small hyper focused niche app for Windows and Mac. I sell directly and also use the Mac Apple Store. In terms of downloads I’m around 66% Windows, 34% Mac, license sales (direct) I can’t tell as it licenses both versions.

I simply treat the Mac Apple Store as another avenue, and it sells around 20% of my overall licenses. I will add myself to the Windows one at some point when I have time :slight_smile:

I know Apple is waking up again to the Pro market so some things may change, and the pro users I know who have the new Macbook pro’s have grown to really love the touchbar, though they are pissed off at the USB-C only thing. !!!, We’ve already had meetings where their various connectors are missing/wrong city/office etc. lol Growing pains

1 Like

Can’t speak to win vs mac as we’re not doing windows software. But I can give you a valuable tip when it comes to Mac App store vs direct sales:

Do both. We were MAS-only initially but after we added a direct version our total sales grew. It seems like some customers prefer not to buy at all over buying through the app store.

Direct sales now make about 30% of our total sales. (And our marketing is really really bad).

We are not a good example because the project is very lucky to be supported by another team member income (my wife is a top stock illustration artist).

I can relax and get away with half a year of ignoring SEO and marketing while developing new shiny features.