The story of iBiz is really the story of how IGG started. Over a decade ago I was a graduate student studying biology and plant population modeling. Occasionally on the weekends and between classes I would survey for rare plants as a side gig. The fun part of the job was hiking around botanizing, the not so fun part was writing a report back at home. As an early OS X adopter (early as in, I installed the first beta) I was frustrated that there wasn’t an app to track the time I was spending writing reports — time I ultimately needed to bill back to the client. You probably get where this story is going and alas, AtWork was born. A very simple time tracking app. I found the app quite useful so I decided I would put it up on the internet and charge $6 for it. The first day I posted it, I sold one copy. I could hardly believe it! In a lot of ways, selling this first app marks the very beginning of IGG.

I continually updated and improved upon AtWork and pushed new builds to my file server. I continued to make a few bucks a day, but certainly not enough to consider “going indie.” Besides, I was happy plugging away on my dissertation and chasing rare plants around southern California. However, I still continued to chase my other little passion, to make AtWork better and better. I developed it to version 3.0 and then the next iteration was a complete re-write, called iWork. iWork was a big success and continued to grow in popularity.  And although it was pretty simple at this point, especially compared to iBiz today, it still had some neat features for its time, such as 1-click emailing of invoices and an idle timer.

AtWork Screenshot

 

AtWork circa Mac OS X 10.3

Skip ahead a few years and by the time I was graduated and working on a post-doc, iWork and iBank were making a significant contribution to my monthly income. But I was still a one-man shop trying to juggle a lot of work. After one year as a post-doc, I took the leap of faith: I left academia to form and work on IGG full-time. At this point I moved to Vermont to settle down and get serious about software. I worked endlessly on iWork and iBank; iWork eventually changed to iBiz. iBiz continued to be the bread and butter for the company, and I hired my first employee who is still with us today :-).

iBiz 2 Screenshot

iBiz 2 (formerly known as iWork) circa 2008.

 

During the next 7 or so years, iBank continued to grow, went through several very important re-writes and eventually became our flagship product. We kept updating iBiz and even released iBiz 4.0 in 2009. iBiz continued to receive fixes for a few bugs and to ensure it worked with the latest Mac OS. However, it is clear now, we don’t have the resources to give it the attention it deserves. It’s been fun iBiz, you’ve helped many, including all of our internal team who keep track of their hours with it. And so it is not with a light heart that I say, it is time to say goodbye.

We are officially ceasing development of iBiz. It doesn’t run on Mavericks and the work to make it play nice would be a huge undertaking. We’ve thought about this for a long time and once we finally decided on what we needed to do, we wanted to let all of you know ASAP. We will still continue to provide technical support for our existing customers for another year. But we won’t be releasing any more updates and it will no longer be for sale.

(We’ve also decided to stop selling our utility iPaste and it will no longer receive updates, but we can continue to help customers troubleshoot it for another year.)

The SOHO (small office/home office) space is something that is definitely on our radar. In a lot of ways, it’s a perfect fit for what we do already, but that space has changed a lot since iBiz. There are iPhones, iPads, “the cloud” has matured, people run their businesses with different tools. For now we need to focus on our iBank suite; we just announced iBank for iPad 2.0 and we have some great announcements coming soon.

I want to extend a personal thanks to all of the iBiz customers we’ve had through the years. You helped us make a great product and I apologize for the inconvenience this news might cause.

 

Ian Gillespie
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Ian Gillespie

CEO/Founder at IGG Software, Inc.
A California native, Ian's academic background was in biology, botany and environmental studies. He comes to the field of technology purely out of personal passion, and has been writing Mac software for over a decade. He's also an avid birdwatcher, a soccer player, fiddler and an organic gardener. He lives in Oregon with his wife and their two sons.
Ian Gillespie
Follow IGG

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91 comments on “The Story of iBiz and Saying Goodbye

  • OMG! I can’t believe you guys pulled the plug on iBiz. Do you guys have any suggestions for an alternative that also has the iCal sync function. That saves me SOOOOO much time.

  • So sad to hear this. iBiz is hands down the best invoicing software I’ve used and I’m really sad to see it go. Seriously, there are no other developers out there who would be willing to buy the software and continue development?

  • This is disappointing. Will you be folding invoicing into iBank for Maverick? If not, as others have asked, any recommendations for invoicing that is even somewhat comparable to iBiz? Sad to see it go.

  • Nuts. I just came here this morning to see if there might be an announcement about an iPad version of iBiz. Guess not. I’m having a hell of a time finding one that works as well as iBiz on my Mac. Good luck with everything else and thanks for the great software.

  • Really sad. I just purchased this software to now see this. Can’t you guys release the source code then? Maybe open-source it, it’s really a great software? Seems like every business moving towards monthly services.

  • Very disappointing – even more so that you don’t take the trouble to mail us, your clients, who ordered directly from your website many years ago. It is just because I am getting more upset about the increasingly slow performance of Ibiz on my laptop, that I looked up the support pages for help – only to find this notice.

  • I agree with Hermann. I found this post because I happened to check my RSS feed for this blog. Back when iBiz was still receiving attention, you knew how to contact all of us by email when something important happened.

    No iBiz on Mavericks will mean I won’t be upgrading until I find a replacement for iBiz.

  • This is very disappointing. I have been using iBiz (iWork) for 10 years. My first entry was October 6, 2003. I have been very, very pleased with the software. Like many here, I would appreciate some suggestions for replacement software. Also, suggestions on how to transfer 10 years of projects to new software, or at least to some sort of archive, would be appreciated. This software helps people run businesses, not play games. It seems to me that assistance in transitioning to new software would be the professional thing to do.

  • This announcement is very disappointing. I hope IGG will reconsider or sell the software to another developer. I never used calendar syncing, so that’s not an issue for me, but it still does what I need better than anything else out there. I’ll be using it for the foreseeable future.

  • I’m sad to see it go. It’s been our invoice and project software for years. Please make it open source. I’d love to see some one make it work on 10.9.

  • As far as I can tell, the stuff that used sync services doesn’t work. Everything else appears to function as it did before (for better or worse).

  • Has anybody tried it on Mavericks? What issues are we having, as the Benno said, I need to know what works or not. If it’s only timer issues, then I can enter things manually. A feedback as to what works and what doesn’t work would be nice, so we as users can make our choice as to switch or not.

    Again, I encourage you to open-source it, i’m quite sure it would become a much better product. You could always open-source it and charge for support.

  • Agreed, we need more information. I just upgraded to Mavericks (before stumbling across this post!) and I’ve already used it for a day without realising there was a problem. I’m running iBiz Client on Mavericks, but the server app is still on Leopard (on an old G5 iMac). I assume it’s the server doing all the actual timing, in which case I’m safe?? And if that’s the case, that also might be a scenario that might suit some others too!

  • Okay… no I can confirm that iBiz Client (at least before turning off App Nap) is not recording the time properly. Yesterday my time log says I started a task at 2:29:16 and finished at 4:05:21. That should come to just over 1 hour and 36 minutes, but iBiz is reporting only 01:12:44. A second task should be 4 minutes and 42 seconds but is reporting 00:03:18.

    I’ve turned App Nap off now (thanks for the tip Ian) and will see how we go. I really need this to work.

  • That does seem to have fixed it. Times are good since turning off App Nap. I’m very relieved to see that!

    The only other anomaly I’ve noticed since upgrading to Mavericks is that I can no longer see most job event notes in the Notes column. If I double click the job event, the note is still there, but the longer notes just don’t show up in the table view anymore. Not ideal, but I can live with it!

    For the benefit of other concerned users, I’ll post here again if I discover something more serious, but so far it’s not looking too bad at all, so long as you take the absolutely critical step of checking ‘Prevent App Nap’ in the iBiz info panel.

  • We are of course not happy to hear this bad news, as we are using this software in our company on a daily basis (iBiz Server and Clients). I really hope IGG Software provides some support to transfer to another software (exporting to format to be used by another software as import), as loosing all information is quite a bad option. We also would be willing Obviously we will measure the support of iBiz of what to expect if our second used product from IGG Software, namely iBank, is also one day not supported any more. To be honest, we somewhat lost a bit of trust.

  • Firstly, Big thank you for developing iBiz. It’s been core to the running of my design business, and I wouldn’t be without it. I hope you reconsider your decision to kill it, as I hope to upgrade to Mavericks in the future. I’d pay for a new version (of iBiz), to support the development cost of porting it to Mavericks. I’m sure a lot of other users would concur.

  • Gee, thanks for the email/message/something (!) to let us know iBiz isn’t compatible with Mavericks and that you’ve discontinued development. I arrived here because my time tracking showed only 30min after working for hours on a particular project. I track across multiple projects per day. Not good!

    Ian, thank you so much for posting the App Nap tip. Appreciate it.

  • I’m with Andrew in saying a big thank you for developing iBiz, and joining him in asking you to reconsider your decision to kill it. iBiz has been part of the core of running my design business, too, and I’d gladly pay to help upgrade and continue it. Have you considered looking for offers to sell off iBiz to someone with the time to devote to it. I’m sure your many, many devoted users would pay to continue with the software they’ve grown to know and love.

  • Just came across this post after receiving news about iBank public beta.

    Very disappointed that this essential bit of software for my freelance design work will no longer be developed. As Andrew states above, I would happily pay for an upgrade for a new version of iBiz.

    What’s the alternative?

  • My first entry is in March of 2004, when it was called iWork. Looking back on my entries I see “the little engine that could” that my business grew from. I’m losing a friend with the demise of iBiz! Now, I’ve spent hours looking for something to replace it. GACK! There’s nothing out there. So much of what’s offered is via online subscription. No thanks. I want to have it living here on my mac pro. I’m considering Klok, but only if I can dump the black background with grey text for something readable. I’ve even resorted to looking at timers, but am not finding much there to write home about. If I find anything viable, I’ll share it here. Please, others, do the same.

    Really? You really have to leave us, Ian? I have a Sad.

  • I want to point out to everyone that turning off App Nap is not a solution. I turned it off on Friday and am still experiencing incorrect time tracking. Not small incorrectness. One task recorded only 15 minutes and I know it took at least 45.

  • You made some pretty good software considering you started off as a biology guy.

    My first iBiz (iWork) entry is from March 2004. Almost made it a decade. I never heard of iBank even though I’ve been with IGG for almost 10 years. I guess it’s the winner.

    What about Kickstarter, Ian? If nothing else to help you with whatever the SOHO product you’re thinking about. I imagine a PageMaker to InDesign thing — iBiz to… iSOHO. I looked at the product with the bee, I think its called OnTheJob; there ARE customers for you!

  • Jen, that has not been my experience. Turning off App Nap has fixed it for me. I’ve checked recorded times against the log, and they’re spot on now.

    Anyone else using Mavericks who can share their experience?

  • Sorry to see you go iBiz!

    Like others posting here, I’ve been a longtime iBiz user since 2004. I also use Quickbooks for Mac for my accounting software. You should seriously consider selling the rights to your code to Intuit! We moved to Quickbooks about 4 years ago and decided to keep using iBiz because it had become second nature for us. Today, we tried using Quickbook’s My Time app when we realized our iBiz app was acting up under Mavericks (and I discovered this blog entry Googling for Mavericks/iBiz issues). While My Time is fine in many respects, it absolutely sucks with regards to multi-users on a network. I really believe you should try selling Intuit (or Intuit Labs? whoever makes the MyTime app) your proprietary code for making the time sheets work with multiple users over a network!!! They probably have the resources to resolve the compatibility issues with Mavericks and incorporate it into their existing My Time app. Just a selfish suggestion from an iBiz addict!

  • I have to agree with others here. I have my complaints about iBiz, but the search for a replacement is maddening. I haven’t found anything nearly as good.

  • Another longtime user here, there aren’t really any viable alternatives that meet our needs. Everything else seems to be either overkill or toys. iBiz is/was perfect for our small business, although we would have liked to see the changes we suggested implemented, it still worked fine for our needs.

    I actually didn’t notice any problems running the client on Mavericks with the server on Snow Leopard, aside from not being able to choose a calendar for reminders when generating invoices. We usually enter time spent manually anyway rounded to the nearest half hour, so the time tracking wasn’t as important.

    I’ve made the suggested changes to AppNap and will see how things go.

    As other’s have said, please don’t kill it. Sell it to someone else, make it open source, whatever. But honor your user base and the people who helped make IGG Software what it is today by buying iBiz and supporting you, by not just cutting everyone off cold.

  • I saw the references to Freshbooks and Billings Pro as alternatives to iBiz, but when I spoke with someone at Billings Pro, they said that there was no interface between the system and the mac Calendar program, which is the most important feature of iBiz for me. I spoke with someone at freshbooks and they referred me to another person within the company, who hasn’t returned my call after 2 days. Are there any other options that will allow an interface with calendar and track costs/charges?

  • I am sad to see that this is being discontinued. It works perfectly for my business. I am a little surprised why it was never listed on the App Store.
    I hope someone else does pick this app up – because it is great.

    Looking for alternatives, very hard – so far Billings Pro only looks like it can work for me. But will be a lot of work transferring across projects that have not yet completed.

    I will hold out and use iBiz as long as I can. Using mavericks currently and the nap app solution has helped and have not had any other problems so far.

  • I evaluated Timenet and had some horrible stability issues with it. Also, the price for Timenet Law and all the associated modules is prohibitive. It was great to run my business on ibiz, bank, Pages, and Contacts for a very reasonable price.

    I do hope IGG reconsiders its decision. Lots of people have a need for iBiz.

  • Let me add my voice to the chorus asking for iBiz to be made open source, or at the very least sold off to someone who may be willing to devote the necessary time to continue to update it. I’ve been using various generations of the software since the dawn of time and I too would have a very hard time changing to another software package.

  • OK, IGG, got it?
    1. Robust export module.
    2. Open source.
    I switched some years ago From TimeSlips, which had the same fate; lack of developer support. Why? Resources, time, mission drift? I’ve been happy with iBiz and am sorry to see it go. I’m a small home-based shop and it won’t be hard to switch again, but the bigger design operations must be boiling.
    Great while it lasted. Why is it so difficult to make a good time/billing app?

  • Count me as another in the chorus for open-sourcing it. Don’t assume you need to pretty it up for release or add release tools or docs; better to release it in a fetid pile that folks need to clean up rather than not release at all.

  • Oh what a shame/shock! I stumbled across this while investigating the CPU hogging iBiz was doing. I’ve used it in a small business for 4 years and while it has its foibles iBiz has all in all been fantastic. I’m disappointed that this announcement actually happened only days after I recommended and setup iBiz for a close friends new business.
    I also just want to say thanks for developing iBiz in the first place. Only you know how many users your software has provided with that essential link between their day to day work and their livelihood, and this is not an insignificant feat.

    Another 2 votes for open sourcing the project – do it in the simplest way for you, but please don’t let something so essential for all of us just die.

  • Quickbooks for OSX has time tracking builtin. Unfortunately it is $249. But everything is there for time tracking, invoicing, etc. Or you can use the online version. We use for our small business and if you can justify the expense, it is worth it.

    No, I don’t work for or sell Quickbooks.

  • Aaarghh…

    iBiz Server/Client has been with us since we set up our small design studio, and has bee REALLY useful for keeping tabs on things, easy for new bodies to learn etc etc. We never really used iBiz for invoicing, more as a way of tracking and collating expenses and hours across the studio, i.e. as a way of knowing what to invoice for! Super useful timekeeping app, and a real reason we have been able to keep things going and still have time for the ‘creative’ work…

    So I am guessing (if iBiz is truly dying off) we have BillingsPro? Any other options? To be honest I would be happy to pay a full fee again for IBiz, at this point in things it is worth a lot o money NOT to have to rethink this core part of our studio setup!

    Please reconsider your decision to pull the plug!

  • I have been using iBiz for 5 years, and I’m sad to see it go away. I have no problems with it on Mavericks, but I don’t use the timer feature, I only do manual entries and invoicing.

    As a paying customer, I do hope that you at least provide support for exporting our data (over 4 years worth) into another system. Ideally, of course, is that you open source the project as I’m sure there are many developers using your app that would be willing to keep it alive.

    Please consider that whatever happens to iBiz will be reflected on your company. Who will want to buy iBank if they know the company will leave development efforts out of the blue and leave existing customers without support.

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