Software downloads from the Internet are nothing new to Mac users; for as long as Macs have been Internet capable, Mac users have depended on the Internet for distribution of shareware and boxless software. But one company breaking new ground in this area is Vindico Technologies, whose Deliver2Mac Web site promises commercial software available for download.
Vindico’s efforts started when its sister company, UK-based Mac game publisher Virtual Programming, found it increasingly difficult to find retail shelf space for its own games. “Especially in the Apple Stores,” said Vindico founder Mark Hinton, “shelf space has been getting smaller for software, to make room for iPod accessories. For us, we needed to find another delivery method.”
Vindico launched Deliver2Mac launched this past April, first exclusively as a reseller of Virtual Programming games. Now the company is expanding its efforts to attract third party Mac software publishers. Already it’s attracted word processing and utility maker Mariner Software and Windows virtual machine developer Parallels. The company is offering Mac publishers a free deal to try their service as well.
“People tend to be suspicious, and that’s why we’re letting developers try it first,” said Hinton. Vindico will host the software for one month, absolutely free. At the end of that month, its standard terms apply.
“We’re exercising some quality control,” said Hinton, who added that developers shouldn’t just expect a free pass — Vindico wants to make sure that they’re not shoveling low-quality software off to customers. So Deliver2Mac makes sure that the software meets with their own expectations of quality before agreeing to distribute it.
Broadband access is now ubiquitous enough that Deliver2Mac can comfortably publish content that previously would only fit on a CD-ROM or DVD-ROM — software installers measuring hundreds of megabytes. What’s more, Deliver2Mac employs encryption technology to make sure that software pirates can’t just take the goods and run.
While retail shore shelf space for Mac software may be dwindling, Hinton expects that demand for software will continue to grow, especially with demand for Macs increasing and broadband access reaching more and more homes.
“The reason why the download business has worked for so long is because applications and utilities were very small in size. It’s a bandwidth issue. That’s becoming less of a problem, and now it’s realistic to pass large applications and installers on to people online,” said Hinton.
Deliver2Mac helps take out much of the complexity of large online file transfers from smaller developers who don’t want to be bothered with such things, said Hinton.
“The technology needs to be updated, there are bandwidth costs, the costs of merchant banking, and so on,” he said. “We can take care of that — we’ve proven the technology with Virtual Programming.”
If Deliver2Mac is successful, there’s no reason why Vindico couldn’t start “Deliver2” sites for other platforms, as well, according to Hinton.
“The concept is to have a one stop shop,” said Hinton. “To have all the software in one place. Instead of marketing individual products, software publishers can just send their users to us, and they can go to browse.”