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Linguan Acquisition Update

Earlier this year we announced that we are now looking for somebody to acquire our Mac app Linguan.

We had half a dozen interested parties inquire, but in general our initial price target of 10000 Euro was too steep for all. So my partners at BytePoets and I discussed this matter and we are now dropping the price.

We have agreed to drop the price to 7500 Euro (or 10252 Dollar).

BytePoets will furnish a contract transferring all rights on the Linguan source code, branding and related assets made by BytePoets. Single Payment only, no installments or other constructs can be accepted. Upon payment I will also transfer the app to the acquiring company’s iTunes Connect account.

Also included is the domain with which I never did anything. I reserved this domain to have an app website on, but then I went with a very simple product page on my wordpress blog instead.

One fear people had was that sales of Linguan might go down if I’m no longer advertising it from the Cocoanetics blog. I’ll throw in for you a free banner ad being displayed with 10000 impressions per month, plus a couple of blog posts advertising the change of ownership and when a new major version is being released.

Linguan being my own brainchild means that I am interested in your acquisition becoming a success for whoever adopts it. A few thoughts I shared about the future direction for Linguan:

  • add support for sandboxing, asking the user to open the project folder so that the app can save a scoped bookmark to keep accessing it.
  • also for sandboxing: remove calling of IBTool, that’s more or less obsolete with the new strings-based localization for storyboards and XIBs
  • support native parsing and modifying of XIBs which use the new XML format that arrived with Xcode 5.
  • Add support for importing and exporting CSV or Excel format, that’s been requested
  • Add some help and user guides
  • there is an issue with parsing strings in source that span multiple lines, this needs to be fixed in the open source lib I wrote as a replacement for genstrings which Linguan uses
  • down the road you might want to create an API that lets people order translations from select translators from inside the app. You see that you need 40 strings in Russian, see that some translator offers that for a certain price and you push a button – boom it gets uploaded
  • also a feature we’ve been pondering is to allow live-localization. You’d add a small lib to your app and then you would see all the strings marked in Linguan that are on the current screen. If you modify one in Linguan you would see it updated right away
  • I think iCloud support and a simplified iOS client would also be a great thing

I believe that there is very little risk involved due to the broad appeal of Linguan. It is not only used by developers for localizing their own apps, but also by project owners who get apps made via outsourcing who want to do the internationalization themselves. Apple is not interested to sherlock Linguan since they believe a text editor is sufficient to work with strings files.

The challenges involving sandboxing as also a big chance for a future version of Linguan on the Mac app store. Linguan uses the xcodeproj file to find the project files to scan for strings and modify strings files. You need to invent an elegant method for the user to provide the file access needed by the project and persist this in scoped bookmarks. This reduces the circle of potential competitors quite a bit.

Personally I’d love to hand over Linguan to a company that already has some development productivity tools. My first thought was BlackPixel but their CEO Daniel Pasco stubbornly ignored all my emails so far. But in the end it does not really matter, even a single person willing to invest a couple of months to create a Linguan v2 would be great, as long as he or she takes Linguan seriously.

The problem trying to judge the value of Linguan just from the current sales is that you cannot really do that. That’s akin to trying to estimate the size of an animal from its “long tail”. Linguan has upwards of 10000 users which still seem to have the app installed.

Linguan Stats

If you consider the monthly sales average this is slowly approaching $400. So the asking price equates to 2 years of sales which is rather reasonable. But of course we are not looking to sell a cookie cutter business. Whoever takes on Linguan needs to spend some serious development time on it. This should greatly improve the sales income.

Monthly Sales

In conclusion, we believe that the current asking price is extremely reasonable and whoever will be acquiring Linguan gets a base of enthusiastic users.

Categories: Business

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