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NewsGator Pushes Back Date, Sets Price

NewsGator slipped out additional information about the planned shutdown of its synchronization server and the release schedule for NetNewsWire for Mac OS X and iPhone, and for FeedDemon for Windows. Some details were sent via email, while the rest were posted in an FAQ on the company’s site.

NewsGator is turning to Google Reader to provide synchronization services in its updated RSS aggregation software, and the company is eliminating its Web-based service as well as an array of other niche products. (See “NewsGator Switches Users to Google Reader for Sync, Online RSS,” 2009-08-04, for the background.)

Previously, NewsGator had set the end of its sync service at 31-Aug-09. However, release versions of its Mac, iPhone, and Windows newsreaders haven’t yet been finalized. The company expects to have such versions in a few days, and will not shut down sync services until after those versions are available. It expects a shutdown around 10-Sep-09.

The new version of NetNewsWire will include ads, and NewsGator had said that users would be able to pay to remove enticements. The company’s FAQ now says that the initial fee will be $9.95. Ads will reappear in NetNewsWire betas starting 01-Sep-09, at which point customers can pay to remove them. NetNewsWire for iPhone is currently listed as a free application.

I had previously criticized NewsGator on two fronts. First, for announcing an abrupt end to a popular service without having replacement software in hand to aid in a migration. Second, because the firm referred customers to a beta version of NetNewsWire without noting that status; the beta page was far clearer, but the warning should have been in both places.

On the first front, the company is under no obligation to continue its sync service, but unless the cost is unbearable, it seems that offering a few weeks of migration following completed releases of its three continuing newsreading applications would certainly be a way to preserve goodwill, something the company and its developers – and certainly NetNewsWire programmer Brent Simmons – have always had in large supply.

On the second front, the company’s FAQ and migration page now make it much clearer that NetNewsWire is currently in beta testing.

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