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MacSanta: You'd Better Not Pout

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Correction appended.

For those who make their list to Santa using a text editor, for those who set up elaborate systems to capture the sound of reindeer hooves, for those who prefer not to receive a cured-meat product in a can or on their computer - the MacSanta promotion is worth a look for those last-minute presents.

The folks at a number of well-known Macintosh developers have banded together to offer a 20-percent discount on their software when you use the coupon code MACSANTA while purchasing the products directly from the companies' Web sites.

Participating companies include Bare Bones, C-Command, Flying Meat, Potion Factory, Red Sweater, and Rogue Amoeba. Soon after announcing the promotion today, the number of participating companies increased threefold.

It's clear that MacSanta comes in response to the MacHeist game and promotion of the last several weeks. The people who developed MacHeist combined the elements of a puzzle-laden mystery with a $49 software bundle that included about $350 in retail-priced software. Solve parts of the game, and you'd receive further discounts. The most well-known packages included were Delicious Library and DEVONthink Personal.

MacHeist said that they would contribute 25 percent of gross receipts to charity, a share that reached $190,000 during the multi-week event. In messages on their Web site, the promoters say that they sold nearly 17,000 bundles and decided to round the charity donation up to an even $200,000.

The MacHeist bundle was criticized by some because developers were reportedly offered flat fees for their products rather than a percentage of sales. Flying Meat's Gus Mueller explained his opposition in what became an interesting conversation in comments, including remarks by MacHeist operators and other developers. John Gruber of Daring Fireball explained why he thought MacHeist wasn't a great deal for developers, who he felt should have either held out for more money (based on what MacHeist reportedly offered) or walked away.

However, participating developers and others noted that the promotion was voluntary. Delicious Monster head Wil Shipley, for instance, said that it was tremendously successful in bringing new users to their software. The company will show version 2 of Delicious Library at Macworld Expo - linking its release to Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard later in 2007 - and thus the timing was quite good for them.

Correction: This article originally stated that the $49 bundle included software that would not be eligible for upgrade pricing. In fact, only a few applications given away as part of the MacHeist game are ineligible for upgrades.

 

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