It was a tough business decision. We explored various business models but couldn’t successfully figure out profitability & growth over the long term. It was hard; the market for premium consumer mail apps is not big enough, and it faces stiff competition from high quality free apps from Google, Microsoft, and Apple. We put up a hard and honest fight, but it was not enough to overcome the bundling & platform default advantages enjoyed by the large tech companies.(official blog)
Apart from the fact that there are many free apps out there – there are a few things Newton could have done (and I am not saying this in hindsight, but also shared these earlier):
$50/year is a lot. It’s actually a lot for an email client when there are many free and high-quality alternatives. Given that Newton was selling to consumers (and not enterprises), the decision to part with $50/year (the new pricing is $9.99/month which again is way too high) is too difficult to make when there are many free alternatives.
The only piece Newton hoped in virality was that people will use the default footer (i.e. Sent from Newton text in each email). Now if you are paying for a product, you won’t do that. But if you are using it for free, you don’t mind enabling that.
Somewhere there was a disconnect in all this.
I read one of their blogposts that they don’t do affiliates. For a consumer product like this, you’d need to go out in the market and get reviews from top sites / bloggers / influencers. Affiliates work for many and saying no to a sustainable channel like affiliate may not be a good idea. I say, maybe because you can’t expect affiliates to drive 50% sales – but they do work consistently for a category like this.
Nevertheless, Newton was a great product and I think it truly stood out in the otherwise crowded category. Given the team and their tech strength, I am sure they will do something bigger and better !
PS: Please let me which email client do you use (I hate Apple’s default email client and MS outlook).