Some Thoughts About Filemaker's Future

Discussion created by jimweil on Dec 27, 2018
Latest reply on Dec 28, 2018 by eric_evers

Over the years, in my opinion, Filemaker has evolved from a personal, individual, easy to use relational database into an expensive complex, somewhat bloated enterprise level product now targeted toward developers with the intent of having it as a platform for the creation of 'canned' applications for profit. While Filemaker does run in the Windows environment, given the competition to it in that arena, it is likely that its primary platform is still the Mac or IOS. Since IOS apps only become significantly profitable in a minority of circumstances, the opportunity for significant returns on investments still seems to be focused on the Mac in the enterprise arena.


Now consider the requirements of the latest and future versions of MacOS which require 64bit architecture and METAL GPU's. This effectively obsoletes any still functional and useful machines from staying current with MacOS and future revisions of all Mac apps, including Filemaker, are likely to limit their operation to these new architecture requirements coercing enterprise to purchase new machines to support these apps. Add to this equation the fact that Apple has significantly increased the cost of owning such machines, most of which now have closed architecture, forcing users to pay exorbitant costs for such things as memory and storage from Apple. Additionally the expected base price for the new modular MacPro Desktop is expected to be over 6K. Finally the price for IOS devices is now reaching over 1K for some of the units.


All this leads me to the conclusion that the enterprise market for the new MacPro Desktop is likely suffer and become a niche market as enterprise, government and education considers the cost of such machines and likely opts for their Windows and Linux equivalents, except for specialized applications. Additionally IOS devices are becoming less affordable for the general public. Such pricing strategies are likely to place company wide usage of these products out of the reach of small business as well.


So the question becomes how will this all effect Filemaker? I am of the opinion that as this hardware paradigm is implemented, the demand for Filemaker apps, and the developer demand for Filemaker licenses will diminish. Given its price point and complexity, Filemaker is currently no longer attractive to personal end user development. Therefore it is likely that Filemaker as a product will become significantly less profitable for both developers and the company.


This now raises the question as to what Apple's response to this outcome will be. Given that Filemaker is essentially a single product company, will Apple at some point, realizing that it is no longer a significant contributor to Apple's value, perhaps even a loss, shut it down? From a marketing perspective, I suspect few users ever purchase Mac's or IOS devices so that the can run Filemaker. Besides, they can run it on Windows for 1/3 the cost or less. So, given its licensing costs  and a likely shrinking marketplace how with Filemaker retain existing developers and attract new ones?


I feel that these are considerations that Filemaker developers and Filemaker should be thinking about as they plan for the future. Hopefully my assumptions and conclusions are incorrect and that their still is a bright future for Filemaker. However if I just happen to be correct…