back to article Microsoft's kinder, gentler collaboration war: Evernote, you're first

The collaboration wars are back, only – for now – they're more like a bush battle, where the hindmost are picked off first. During the 1990s, Lotus Notes – which became IBM Notes – and Groupwise from Novell were in Microsoft’s sights. When they weren't giving customers snippets of code – known as migration wizards – to …

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Evernote has been pushing users heavily towards ... $69.99 per year

And it's not going to work.

Users might, grudgingly, pay that sort of price for one thing that provides genuine utility. But they're not going to pay it for 5, 10 or 50 different services that they use from time to time. The only two viable options as far as I can see are free+adverts and bundled where you pay a fee to a single supplier for a bunch of stuff. And Microsoft would seem to have an advantage in that latter area if it simply starts bundling further stuff into Office 365.

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LDS
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Re: Evernote has been pushing users heavily towards ... $69.99 per year

Trying to charge customers with such a subscription may be very dangerous when your application/service can be cloned easily enough and offered in another product.

Adobe's subscription may work, but because Adobe has little or no competition for its products, especially at the semi-pro and pro level, and there's little chances such features will appear in other products soon.

It may really get uncomfortable to have to pay for many subscription, especially for less used product, even if the overall expense may not be high. Subscription can make companies happy, but customers may be not so keen on them.

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To Dropbox & Box

Be careful when cavorting with dragons, for thou art crunchy.

Best not to cavort at all.

-or-

Rule #1: Don't make deals/do business with Microsoft.

Rule #2: See rule #1.

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Pint

"a – seemingly – kindler, gentler Microsoft"

I'll have what one of whatever you're drinking.

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"a – seemingly – kindler, gentler Microsoft"

I'll have what one of whatever you're drinking.

Meh. Not really into hallucinogens. Mine's a Guinness, thanks :)

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Anonymous Coward

Premium hassle

As an Evernote user I was lucky to get a year of Premium free. Think it was when I bought my tablet.

A year on, the free app nags every time I log in. I've had an email reminder too.

The price is steep for what it is. But I'm LESS likely to pay for something with hassle.

Evernote is a luxury, and I wasn't a potential customer anyway.

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I've been paying for Evernote Premium for about 7 years now, but I recently cancelled the renewal.

If I'm paying for a Office365 subscription anyway, I might as well use OneNote - from my testing it does everything I need it to.

Just a shame that they haven't seemed to add anything of value to Evernote during the time I've been paying them, so really there is no reason to stay.

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I'll pay more to stay clear of Microsoft. Whether that more includes $70/yr, I'm not yet decided.

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Ex-Premium Evernote user here. Migrated to OneNote a couple of year back on account of Evernote constantly rearranging the UI furniture on their desktop and iOS clients, frequently changing the UI entirely for whatever graphical metaphor-du-jour took their fancy. I still miss the local caching of notes on the iOS client (useful for when you're in a low or no data coverage area), something the OneNote iOS client misses out on, but otherwise OneNote+OneDrive has come on leaps and bounds with OneNote 2013/16/iOS and Office Lens. At the same time Evernote has seemingly lost focus, with the constant, distracting UI revisions and the major password leak from a couple of years back.

Microsoft may appear to be reverting to their old ways, but to me they're competing on level playing fields (other people's OS's and platforms) and winning by producing a better product on balance (OneNote+OneDrive+Office 365). Nothing dirty or underhanded to see here and Evernote themselves have an 'Import from OneNote' function.

I'd love to see Evernote come back and compete again but the landscape has changed with so many note taking, cloud based eco-systems relative to 9/10 years ago. Best of luck to them.

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Anonymous Coward

on account of Evernote constantly rearranging the UI furniture on their desktop and iOS clients, frequently changing the UI entirely for whatever graphical metaphor-du-jour took their fancy.

Hang on, isn't that Microsoft's modus operandi?

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$10 here, $5 there

There are so many services available now - bit here, bit there can soon get expensive.For Evernote to charge, needs to be part of a bigger bundle with other utilities/applications. I don't use all of MS Office, but what I do use is worth a subscription.

Imagine the difference if Wordperfect and Lotus 123 had become part of a product suite. We could all be running Netware for file sharing and PerfectOffice for work.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: $10 here, $5 there

WordPerfect became part of a suite with Quattro that was already better than 1-2-3 and for a while close to Excel. Just they ended in Corel hands, while Lotus ended in IBM hands. Both utter disasters. I tried for a while to avoid to use Office, tried first Lotus Suite (running OS/2 then, but had to run the Win 3.1 version...), then when it became clear OS/2 wasn't going anywhere I tried the Corel Suite - I had to surrender (WordPerfect couldn't run on NT4 crashing here and there, Quattro had no issues... you see their heritage), eventually. Both were unusable for professional work, and especially Lotus adopted the Notes ugly UI across all its products, making them truly uncomfortable to use. Its WYSIWYG was a joke. Really, with such competitors Microsoft didn't need much to make them disappear, they truly worked to commit suicide.

There's a reason why we are not using Netware and PerfectOffice, believe me, and it's not all because MS unfair activities. You can't really sell bad software, all you can do is only give it away for free.

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Re: $10 here, $5 there

"Imagine the difference if Wordperfect and Lotus 123 had become part of a product suite."

They did become parts of a suite. Different suites.

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Ex Evernote user here

I used to use Evernote on Android when it first came out. It recognised phone numbers and you could tap them and have it dial the number for you. So, I used it mainly as a contacts directory. After a while, it stopped being able to do that.

The Colornote application (Android only) was still able to dial a number from a stored note and also has active links between notes, so I switched to using that as a contacts directory. Its disadvantage is that it doesn't have a PC client or a web client but you can e-mail its notes to yourself as backup for later copy/paste back into Colornote if needed.

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@Shmako "but to me they're competing on level playing fields"

A cogent point that the writer appears to have missed entirely. The whole point about Microsoft's "bad old ways" was that they were bad because the were abusing a "market dominant position" - which is why the DoJ (quite rightly) went after them. In all of these new areas of competition MS is nowhere near in any kind of dominant position (and given that there are in many areas strong established players, eg Amazon, Apple and Google, they are most unlikely to end up with power that they could abuse). They are moreover often competing on other people's platforms and are not able to leverage the dominance that their own OS gave them in the past. They are having, in increasing degree, to fight their corner in an effective market over which they have no improper control - which is after all what we as punters want to happen.

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Re: @Shmako "but to me they're competing on level playing fields"

MS is nowhere near in any kind of dominant position

- You don't think Office is dominant? If it's not exactly an abuse, being able to tie notes and cloud into Office is clearly an advantage when it comes to selling cloud subscriptions.

It only starts to get abusive if access is limited or intentionally broken in order to drive users on competing products to your own offerings.

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Re: @Shmako "but to me they're competing on level playing fields"

It's dominant, but only by the choice of its users. Once they finally realise they don't need it, it will first get some panicked investment and then die. it's the Microsoft Way.

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Re: @Shmako "but to me they're competing on level playing fields"

I think Office is dominant... but, I suppose, they are a distant second to Google if you include the consumer side... and the SMBs. In large enterprise though, pretty dominant across the board. I think their real downfall will be losing Windows. Windows has 11.7% of end user devices and falling like a rock (mainly due to Android's explosive growth), so it has kind of already happened. Chrome OS is growing rapidly and, now that they have Android Apps and Play store, will continue to grow at an even faster clip. So Windows is going to be a niche thing, strange as that seems. The only reason Office achieved dominance is because MSFT bundled Office with Windows, Office clearly had the best Windows integration, etc.... it was built on a Windows foundation, and no one cares about Windows anymore. Now that all the kids are using Google Apps anyway (or something other than MSFT anyway) and Google Apps are just a way better financial deal than MSFT, I think Google is going to take down Office. It will take quite awhile for certain, but the MSFT is in a chess game and they are down a huge amount of material.

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Used Evernote since a long time back and yes, had a one year premium account at one point. I don't really store an awful lot on there but its value is being able to access it on all the machines I use, so having a restriction on two computers makes it completely useless to me. It is not important enough to warrant paying above $10 / $15, certainly nothing like $70. Its a shame as I had a third party UI I could access it through (Alternote) but you know, it was free so you can't expect it to last forever.

Turns out in mean time OneNote has got a lot better, works on the mac, the import worked well, it has some kind of export that I can use when that changes so that is good enough for me.

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Seriously thinking of dropping Evernote in favour of something that can span more than 2+ devices without any restrictions (except the amount of data you'll put in).

Still looking at free offerings, haven't decided yet...

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@Alienrat and ASAC

For a small outlay, you can set up a little solid-state FTP server in your own home. For about ten years, I've had an NSLU2 device that just keeps on running. You can still get them on ebay and there are other devices that will do the same thing. All you'd need then is an FTP client on your devices. You'd have to use email for 'collaboration'.

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Re: @Alienrat and ASAC

"All you'd need then is an FTP client on your devices"

Can't see any security issues with that at all, nope, nothing.

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Re: @Alienrat and ASAC

> Can't see any security issues with that at all, nope, nothing.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FTPS

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IMAP e-mail account Drafts folder?

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I have a client that uses a single IMAP account for all of their business organization. The account got so fat and broadly used that their garbage DSL couldn't handle it. I ended up installing a mail server on site just for that one account.

The customer's always right, I guess.

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Re: @Alienrat and ASAC

Looks like an excellent suggestion. Then you'll have to only pay for your bandwidth usage and server maintenance instead of somebody else and their app.

Something like phpBB with a mobile theme may work, and where you can also upload stuff to.

This requires investigation.

On the down side, you will be responsible for security yourself, and if you get pwned and all your private+client data goes walkabouts on the WWW....

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Re: @Alienrat and ASAC

If you can setup an ftp server in your own house, then surely you will be able to setup an Apache or nginx server with owncloud over https, even with a self-signed certificate (after all you will be the one to use it, if you want to give access to files to other people, then they should be trusting you). It will need a little more than an ftp server, but even an RPI should be able to do the job if it is configured accordingly.

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Re: @Alienrat and ASAC

Why do you think a commercial service will reduce your risk ? There may be professionals taking care of it (I emphasise 'may') but if it's popular it's also a far bigger target.

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Sucked 71 Million Pages

a migration tool for Windows users, delivered in March, which Microsoft claims has sucked 71 million Evernote pages into OneNote.

It is not just Windows 10 that is of a privacy concern but it seems now it is EVERYTHING Microsoft.

Apparently the import phones home for Microsoft to come up with this number of 71 million pages imported. I never realized the bigger picture until now with Microsoft. Apparently they now have baked into every Microsoft product for every action that you do. This is very very scary and worse than being on a public Wi-Fi.

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Re: Sucked 71 Million Pages

It doesn't have to in this case as the data is being dumped on MS servers at the users' explicit request. By itself, there is nothing sinister about knowing how many objects are kicking around in a database.

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Import wizard = War ?

OneNote has an option to import from Evernote, and visa versa. That's fine with me. It's competition and it's a great thing because that's what's holding down the prices of note taking services, collaboration spaces, etc. Why do you have to see sinister MS plots in that?

If you want an example of sneakiness, what about the fact that the free mobile version of office converts every document it edits in to docx so that all your nice compatible rtf documents end up gradually drifting in to a format which while not strictly proprietary, is strongly MS controlled.

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$70!!

That is one hell of a lot of money for Evernote.

Compare that to Office 365 for £60. Whatever you think of Microsoft, there is a lot of value in that office suite plus you get 1TB of storage. I just can't see how the two are worth comparable amounts of money.

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What I would pay for...

is a service aggregation portal, where I can pay, say 5£/month and tick 4 well known services, or £10/month for 10 services, or something along those lines, to cover useful services that I probably don't use continuously, but I find invaluable when needed.

In fact the model could be highly adaptable to suit user needs, but it would work on overall volume of traffic, hence the 'low' per user cost.

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Re: What I would pay for...

Yeah sure, me too. However, £5/month is pretty much what evernote costs on its own so why would they want to give you a 75% discount?

Low volume of traffic you say? Well ok but how pissed off are you going to be when even though you're paying for it, evernote throws up an error message to tell you that you're over the usage limit? In fact you would almost be worse off than someone just using the current free option?

Also this is an odd definition of "invaluable", you seem to be using it to mean "worth about £1.25".

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Anonymous Coward

All those monthly subscriptions

windows (coming next year)

Orifice

Photoshop

Netflix

Amazon Prime

NowTv

DSL

etc

Soon add up to a lot of money every month and every month after that.

I've canned all of the above apart from Photoshop. Going to save me close to £500/year.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: All those monthly subscriptions

Unless MSFT just wants to lose every Windows customer in the world, I doubt they make Windows a subscription service. People are already moving to Chrome OS, there would be a mass exodus (probably will be anyway now that Chrome has all of Android's apps).... In the enterprise space, yes, they will. They already do with their EA (pay an annual subscription rate for every user). That isn't going to last forever though when Google is giving away a more stable OS which requires less maintenance. Enterprise moves at a snail's pace, but if you look at it from a purely economic/business perspective, Google is objectively giving businesses a much better deal. Basically just telling large businesses than can stop paying, often millions, for Windows... and, bonus, the new OS will require less admin, is more secure and has every app your users want and will want in the future. Every ISV (SAP, Oracle, Salesforce, even MSFT themselves) have all taken a mobile first development strategy, which means their apps will be released first on Chrome/Android and then ported to Windows at some later date, if at all. No brainer for a CIO.

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Millions of records

Knowing how many objects there are in the db is one thing but knowing how many came from Evernote is a very different matter. My guess is that they troll through the metadata (giving them the benefit of the doubt about reading the data itself).

I would not trust MS with one tiny bit of data of mine (the same goes for Google)

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Re: Millions of records

And how long will it be before MS just big fat buys Evernote anyway? You know - to improve the user experience of Office 365 or some other such bullshit. I'm sure the Evernote founders have a price they wouldn't refuse.

It would just add +1 to the list of software and services once great but ultimately destroyed by acquisition in to the great "innovation engine" that is MS - Hotmail, Visio, aQuantive, Skype, Yammer, Nokia, LinkedIn - to name just a few of the more well known and/or more recent victims.

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Anonymous Coward

Google is eventually going to take down Microsoft

Microsoft is up to their usual tricks. Paying people to convert to Office... with their own money, as they will be charged excessively when they are on Office, Outlook, etc. Pushing smaller innovators through windows. Par for the course.

The company Microsoft cannot push around is Google. None of their usual tricks work against Google. In the past, Microsoft would undercut rivals pricing to get people on Office, Outlook, etc (and then increase the rates after they had them wrapped up). They can't do that against Google. Google is already just about giving away Google Apps for Work, a fraction of MSFT's prices. They can't FUD Google by saying their are financial unstable, will be acquired, etc. Google has a larger market cap than Microsoft. Microsoft used to integrate Office, etc with Windows and intentionally screw up integrations with competitors ("DOS isn't done until Lotus won't run" was a Microsoft phrase). Windows is not legacy and Google has multiples of their user base on Android, and Chrome OS is the fastest growing PC OS by a mile. Microsoft has more need of Google than Google has of Microsoft.... Eventually Google will win this market with lower costs and rapidly becoming better products.

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Re: Google is eventually going to take down Microsoft

> They can't do that against Google. Google is already just about giving away Google Apps for Work, a fraction of MSFT's prices. They can't FUD Google by saying their are financial unstable, will be acquired, etc.

Yeah but they can play on the "big brother Google knows all about you, complete lack of respect for privacy" angle what with its relentless collection of information about browsing and emailing habits.

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Re: Google is eventually going to take down Microsoft @AC

"Microsoft is up to their usual tricks. Paying people to convert to Office"

...say WHAT? I'm not seeing MS paying anyone to convert Evernote users to their O365 offering. They've just developed conversion tools for their existing Evernote competitor. Scary, isn't it?

'"DOS isn't done until Lotus won't run" was a Microsoft phrase'

That myth was apparently debunked over 10 years ago.

I'm sure you would laud *Google* as a great benevolent force if they offered a low cost or a Google Apps bundled Evernote competitor.

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Stop

Re: Google is eventually going to take down Microsoft

"Yeah but they can play on the "big brother Google knows all about you, complete lack of respect for privacy" angle what with its relentless collection of information about browsing and emailing habits."

No, no, no... Google respects everyone's privacy to the fullest, and if they should *ever* be caught doing the opposite (like collecting Wi-Fi traffic for years - or placing unwanted cookies in Safari browsers), they were just actions of unidentified rogue coders.

I'm not saying Microsoft is in any way better.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Google is eventually going to take down Microsoft

"Yeah but they can play on the "big brother Google knows all about you, complete lack of respect for privacy" angle what with its relentless collection of information about browsing and emailing habits."

They not only will, but are using that line now. Google for Work removes all of the crawlers, bots, etc they use in their ad sponsored consumer services and, obviously, removes ads as well. Not applicable.... Plus, outside of the IT community blogosphere, I don't think people really care about how facebook, Google, etc operate. Anyone think Microsoft wouldn't do exactly the same thing if they had the tech prowess?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Google is eventually going to take down Microsoft

I just think it is a false equivalence to compare MSFT's anti-competitive tactics over the years with Google collecting data to serve more relevant ads. Not saying everything Google has done is ideal, but they are just not even in the same category.

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Re: Google is eventually going to take down Microsoft

'Yeah but they can play on the "big brother Google knows all about you, complete lack of respect for privacy" angle what with its relentless collection of information about browsing and emailing habits.'

In order to do that they'd have to be positioned well away from doing the same thing themselves.

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Terminator

Sad end for Evernote

The timing of this article is uncanny. I was just searching for a way I can save my Evernote data to something else. I use Evernote so lightly there's just no way to justify paying the price they're asking for.

I hope they haven't shot themselves in the foot. I wonder if they think they are stronger than than Lotus Notes was when the Terminator unit Microsoft came after them. If so they might want to research it some more.

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Anonymous Coward

Still here

Well, my Evernote annual renewal (Premium plan) kicked in just as I was reading the above. To be fair, I will probably stick with it as I use it a lot.

It was, however, interesting to note that even now, a couple of months after the hike for 'new subscriptions', the renewal for my existing one was still at the old price of $45 (which, post-Brexit-vote, equates to about thirty-five of our special Queen's Pounds Sterling). I can't find any reference as to how long the old pricing will last for existing users, but for those still here it might be worth chasing up :-)

Anonymous, as I want to keep my ca$h and not make them 'upgrade' me deliberately for speaking out.

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