After much consideration I have made the painful decision to end Rocketbox development. Starting today Rocketbox is no longer for sale and Mac OS X Lion will be the last major version supported by Rocketbox. This decision was made especially hard because of all the Rocketbox users who have been incredibly supportive. As a result, I wanted to explain how I arrived at my decision, this letter is my attempt to do so.
The Mac App Store and Apple's improved Mail search in Lion dealt the final blows to Rocketbox. The Mac software marketplace has changed dramatically in the last year with the introduction of the Mac App Store. Over time the Mac App Store will become the primary way Mac users purchase their software. Unfortunately this is a marketplace that Rocketbox will not be allowed into. Rocketbox is a Mail plugin which is unsupported by Apple and not allowed in the Mac App Store. As more software moves to the Mac App Store it will become increasingly difficult to sell Rocketbox through a third party website. To counter this I began writing a standalone Rocketbox app, but not having the deep integration with Mail takes away much of the appeal.
Also, a large portion of Rocketbox was built using Java, which is now deprecated in Mac OS X Lion and is no longer installed by default. Java apps are not allowed in the Mac App Store, so the future of consumer apps with Java is dim. I had begun rewriting major portions of Rocketbox to remove Java but I never managed to get the app back to it's prior state.
Finally, Mac OS X Lion was the final setback for Rocketbox. I made progress on a version of Rocketbox that could run as a seperate application (and no longer as a plugin) and I had removed Java as a requirement. However in Mac OS X Lion Apple significantly improved Mail's search. Many of the features that made Rocketbox unique, like search previews and person search with auto-completion, are now included with the operating system. Rocketbox as a stand alone product was no longer compelling. To compete with Apple I began redesigning and adding new features to differentiate Rocketbox. However, the amount of work required to complete became staggering. I have a full time job, which made it very difficult to complete the amount of work necessary on a part time basis.
After months of stressing over the work required to bring Rocketbox up to par, I've decided I cannot continue. Thank you to everyone who has supported Rocketbox. I am sorry for any inconvience this causes you.
Please note, Rocketbox is no longer supported. These links are kept here for customers who still use Rocketbox. Please see the above letter for more information.