App developer Circus Ponies calls it quits

The makers of the popular NoteBook note-taking app for iOS and OS X abruptly closed up shop this week.

Circus Ponies Notebook

Mac users looking for a good note-taking app now have one fewer option at their disposal. Circus Ponies, the company behind the venerable NoteBook app for iOS and OS X, announced on its website Tuesday that it was shutting down and that its apps would no longer be available.

“After 13 years in business, Circus Ponies has gone to that great Alphabet company in the sky,” a message on the Circus Ponies website reads in part. “It was a good run, but we are done (as in no longer in business).” 

The note also says that NoteBook users who need technical support or a newer version of the software can try sending a message to the Circus Ponies support email address, but adds that there are “no guarantees” that someone will respond.

Although the message links to a simple website that resembles the website for Google’s new parent company, Alphabet, it’s unclear whether Alphabet actually bought Circus Ponies, if the site is a joke of sorts, or if Circus Ponies developer Jayson Adams took a job at Google, as John Gruber suspects

The story behind the story: NoteBook has been a mainstay on OS X since it debuted on the Mac in 2003, but its roots got back to the NeXT days, as the Circus Ponies Alphabet page notes. Although Circus Ponies’ fate is still a little unclear, it’s always sad to see a longtime indie developer shut its doors.

Looking for a replacement? You have options

Despite NoteBook’s untimely demise, you have a few options for notetaking apps on OS X and iOS. The first is Apple’s own Notes app: Notes is still pretty basic, but as os iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan, it learned a few new tricks, such as checklists and basic outline support. 

OneNote, Microsoft’s popular note-taking app, is another possibility. It’s free for OS X and iOS, but as our review noted back in July, it lacks some of the features found in the Windows version. Evernote and OmniOutliner are other options worth trying out.

Editor’s note: This story was originally posted on January 6, 2016 at 5:30 p.m. Pacific with false information. We originally reported that Circus Ponies was purchased by Google, since a link in the Circus Ponies goodbye message pointed to circusponies.xyz, a website that closely resembles the website for Google’s parent company Alphabet. However, Alphabet doesn’t own the .xyz top-level domian, so anyone can register an .xyz domain name. With that in mind, and upon further investigation, we can’t say for certain that Circus Ponies has been bought out by Alphabet. We have updated this article accordingly.

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