Get Great Software on the Cheap

March 17, 2012 by  

Author’s Note: This piece was written in 2009, so most of these particular bundle offers have expired. The good news is that there are new bundles being offered by these same vendors all the time.

In this day of software bundles costing upwards of $2,500 (the Adobe Creative Suite CS4, for example), it’s nice to know there are some alternatives out there.  Several companies have come up with an interesting business plan, by negotiating bulk license buys from software developers, they can offer a bundle of software, for a limited time, with up to a dozen titles, for a single low price, typically under $50. With a very few exceptions, these are the latest releases, and many can be updated with maintenance releases, and some even let you upgrade to the next major release.

Most of these groups support RSS feeds, automatic emails, and even Twitter notifications, so you can be one of the first to know when a new deal has been launched.

Here are a few examples of some of the software bundle deals:

MacUpdate: While they currently aren’t offering a bundled package, they do have a daily discount page, where they offer current software at anywhere from 25-50 percent off retail price.

MacBundleBox: Like MacUpdate, the folks at MacBundleBox have their periodic large bundle offerings, and are preparing to launch a new service, MacDailyBox, which will offer great deals, but for only a day.

TheMacBundles: This one might still be available by the time this article is posted, but if not, they seem to have new deals all the time. For $49.95, you can get the following apps:

  • iPhoto Library Manager – Create  and manage multiple iPhoto libraries.
  • MyStuff – Home inventory database.
  • MyTunes RSS – Private music and video server that lets you access your media library with a web browser.
  • PDFClerk Pro – PDF file editor.
  • Simon – Monitors servers you are responsible for, sends email notifications or even Twitters if something goes down.
  • Spyder – MySpace social network browser.
  • WebPrint Plus – Print anything from a website from whole sites to small snippets.
  • Yum – Recipe and cookbook manager.
  • Yummy FTP – Easy to use file transfer protocol application. If you use FTP, you know what it does.
  • A-Dock X – Customizes application docks.
  • FolderGlance – Makes it easy to view folder contents.

MacHeist: The MacHeist folks have been around for quite a while. They offer several deals a year, and in between, have mystery contests that ultimately provide big discounts to even larger software products. Like a couple of their competitors, a large percentage of their profit is donated to charity, so you can feel good about saving a lot of money. No deals at the moment, but keep checking their site or subscribe to one of their services.

LifeHacker has a page devoted to alternatives to the bundled software that you can get for free.

Along that same line, there are a few sites devoted to publishing lists of freeware, open source, and shareware software that is best-in-class, for your Mac:

  • OpenSourceMac: One of my favorite places to look for free Mac software that will probably do just what you need to do without all the frills.
  • BestMacSoftware: Another great site, run by the same folks who do the OpenSourceMac site. Some of these packages may be shareware or donationware.
  • Open Source iPhone Apps: There’s even a site for open source (free) iPhone apps.

You don’t have to spend a bundle to get a bundle (sorry…). Check out some of these deals to get lots of great Mac software without spending…yes…a bundle.