Apple subsidiary FileMaker reportedly lays off 20 amid restructuring

Posted:
in General Discussion edited July 2014
Wholly owned Apple subsidiary FileMaker Inc., makers of database programs FileMaker and the now-defunct Bento, reportedly conducted a round of layoffs on Thursday as the company restructures and consolidates its workforce.

FileMaker


People familiar with the situation told AppleInsider that FileMaker let go of approximately 20 employees Thursday night, including some company veterans with over 13 years of experience, in a bid to remain profitable amid slumping sales.

FileMaker's senior public relations manager Kevin Mallon would neither confirm nor deny the rumor, saying company policy precludes him from commenting on staffing matters.

The reported shake up comes just days after FileMaker announced it would be discontinuing development of its database application Bento, an important consumer-facing title that boasted versions for the Mac, iPad and iPhone. In a post to its support website, FileMaker said the program would be on sale through Sept. 30, while technical support is scheduled to continue through July 30, 2014.

Sources say Thursday's rumored job cuts are closely related to Bento's demise, adding California-based external representatives, sales engineers, and technical support staff were let go. The layoffs may extend further, however, as at least one person responsible for sales of the flagship FileMaker software is said to no longer be with the company.

Formed in 1998 from the remnants of erstwhile software maker Claris, FileMaker is headquartered in Santa Clara, Calif., and operates worldwide with offices in Asia, Europe and the Middle East.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 54
    negafoxnegafox Posts: 480member
    I am confused by this article calling Bento "an important consumer-facing title". If it was formally released in 2008 and discontinued, it did not sound like there was enough customer interest in the software.
  • Reply 2 of 54
    pendergastpendergast Posts: 1,358member
    FileMaker is a really good database program, much preferable to Access in my opinion. But it could be a lot better and honestly is not very Apple-like in its UI. Of course, I'm only on v11, so my comment could be dated.
  • Reply 3 of 54
    arlorarlor Posts: 479member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Negafox View Post



    I am confused by this article calling Bento "an important consumer-facing title". If it was formally released in 2008 and discontinued, it did not sound like there was enough customer interest in the software.


     


    No kidding. I thought I kept up on this stuff, but I'm not confident I'd ever heard of Bento before it was discontinued.

  • Reply 4 of 54
    Bento is a wonderful personal database program that had a thriving user community that contributed templates and databases for others to share. It really should have been made a part of the iWork suite of programs.

    I use it all of the time to keep track of my charitable contributions, car maintenance records, wine list, blood pressure, blood glucose level and diet information. So many uses and it is quite a shame that it is being discontinued.

    I also use it to parse out CSV files into a database so that I can slice and dice the data, create entry forms etc.

    FileMaker is way too much program for a personal database and the price point for it is too high for personal use. If I need a full fledged database I create one using MySQL and use a web front end to access it.

    My thought is that FileMaker and by extension Apple is making a big mistake here by not keeping it alive and making it a part of iWork. I am a fanboy toward Apple so I don't say that lightly.

    Sad day.
  • Reply 5 of 54
    diddydiddy Posts: 282member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Rorosdad View Post


    My thought is that FileMaker and by extension Apple is making a big mistake here by not keeping it alive and making it a part of iWork. I am a fanboy toward Apple so I don't say that lightly.



    Sad day.


    While FileMaker Inc is indeed owned by Apple, My understanding is that it is operated independently from Apple.  In other worlds, Apple didn't kill Bento and that wasn't their decision to do so.  They are so separate, that Apple never included it in iWork because it is treated as a separate entity.  


     


    Simply put, Apple Likes FileMaker as it's own thing and doesn't want to brand them as Apple products.

  • Reply 6 of 54
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,835member
    I would love to see Apple bring FileMaker back into Apple proper and add a fully integrated database to iWorks and also a Pro X version to continue the excellent 12 Advanced / Go product relationship, (no database pun intended).
  • Reply 7 of 54
    I like and use Bento and it should be a part of the iWork suite. Spreadsheet are okay, but they aren't always as malleable as a nice database program. With th death of Bento, I don't think there will be any easy database programs available on Mac, or maybe not one I can sync with my iPad and iPhone that's will import data from Contacts.

    To be honest, I still miss AppleWorks. For me, iWork just never had the ease of use that AppleWorks did. Templates are okay, but they're not really for me, and the layers are not as easy to work with as the blocks I used in AppleWorks, née ClarisWorks. And who can forget good ol' CowDog? Moof! I said MOOF!

    Those were the days my friend, we thought they'd never end...
  • Reply 8 of 54
    We use Bento daily in my laboratory to track inventory. Its simple and cheap and does what we need it to do. Looks like we'll never be updating that computer until it dies.

    Reminds me of when I lost the database along with Appleworks. Ugh, Apple -nee Claris - giveth and taketh away.
  • Reply 9 of 54
    bdkennedy1bdkennedy1 Posts: 1,459member


    Having used and created a QA database using FileMaker Professional back in 2004, no one I worked with adopted it. This software is in its own little world. Too many restrictions. Too much money. The QA and engineering department needed something easy that didn't cost $2000 to access a web database. They went back to their old way of printing out and delivering bug reports to individual developers and testers. This is one of the reasons why they suck.


     


    Apple's operating system is $19. Their most expensive software is $499. No one is going to buy a database program for $2,000.

  • Reply 10 of 54
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    wisdomseed wrote: »
    And who can forget good ol' CowDog? Moof! I said MOOF!

    Dogcow. Claris would be ashamed. ;)
  • Reply 11 of 54
    hmmhmm Posts: 3,405member


    Blah. You would think a company the size of Apple would have open spots for some of those guys somewhere.

  • Reply 12 of 54
    dreyfus2dreyfus2 Posts: 1,067member
    We do use Filemaker 12 Server as a bridge (a workaround to save development hours) to connect our in-house iOS devices (through FileMaker Go apps) to corporate data stored in MySQL and MS SQL Server databases. It does work, but even simple (and common) tasks like only showing users subsets of data (e.g. only customer records they are interested in) are painful to achieve, as even these basic functions (like basing a form on a view iso the entire table) do not really exist in FM. Adding up the developer (Advanced Pro) licenses, plus the server licenses, plus third party ODBC drivers... that is quite some money for a workaround that feels like a workaround.

    Add to that the need to keep a few Windows machines around, just to do any decent reporting (using e.g. Crystal Reports for which there is still no even 50% equivalent in the Mac hemisphere)... the database situation in OS X and iOS remains pretty dire (and I am not even talking about FM being 100% unable to create a proper OS X application in the first place, or to implement a bare minimum of standard SQL syntax and functionality). And as good as Core Data is, there is still no somewhat pro-level and RAD mean to connect OS X or iOS apps to RDBMSs. (Our main in-house app accesses more than 800 tables, and I know what our developers went through.) Heck, drop RAD, even being able to create apps with not more effort than creating an identically functional PHP page in Dreamweaver would be a huge step forward.

    Even if we are in a "post PC world", databases are not going away. And Apple should do something about it. If they (or FM) come up with an own solution, or if they just add some more convenient support for third party systems to Xcode, I don't even care. Just anything.

    What did I want to say anyhow? Right. FM did not make any relevant progress for ages, the last 5 or 6 major (and paid) releases each added less than what other software titles deliver in point updates. I am not too curious to see what they will do with even less resources.
  • Reply 13 of 54

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Rorosdad View Post



    FileMaker is way too much program for a personal database and the price point for it is too high for personal use...



     


     


       Filemaker is stuck in a 1990's mentality, the same type of thinking that almost killed Apple.  "Our products are so insanely great that people will pay whatever price we set."    What's really happening is that everyone is turning to much lower cost solutions (SQL/PHP) and eventually Filemaker will lose all of its market share.  They need to make some serious price cuts if they're going to stay in business.

  • Reply 14 of 54


    Laying off 20 people is not a good sign for an Apple family company. This is serious! We've all been reading how Android has been eating Apple's lunch, and now this! Watch for the GOP to bring it up in a news conference, " Even America's strongest company is turning workers out of their cubicles. Some of those who have been at their jobs for over a decade were handed a large box and sat out on the street and told to 'go fish'."

  • Reply 15 of 54
    studentxstudentx Posts: 112member
    "Having used and created a QA database using FileMaker Professional back in 2004"

    If you have not use FileMaker since then you have no idea what you're talking about. The program has advanced so much since then. - bdkennedy1
  • Reply 16 of 54
    dreyfus2dreyfus2 Posts: 1,067member
    the_steve wrote: »
    What's really happening is that everyone is turning to much lower cost solutions (SQL/PHP) and eventually Filemaker will lose all of its market share.  They need to make some serious price cuts if they're going to stay in business.

    Lowering the price only works if you have a somewhat compelling product in the first place. How many people are there saying "I would buy FM12 if it were $100 cheaper"? Ten? Twenty?

    FM survives mainly because of the thousands of custom developed solutions by "FM programmers". Agency systems, CRM, inventory and invoicing systems for hundreds of different businesses. And, having an advanced developer license and being able to create (and sell) self-contained / runtime applications, seems to be the main business. I do not even know a handful of people using FM to create "own" solutions. It is simply too bizarre, too limited and the documentation is lousy. I use FM since many years, but its lack of logic still hits me every single time. I rather fire up Access or Paradox in VMware and I have a solution in a fraction of the time.
  • Reply 17 of 54

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by dreyfus2 View Post





    Lowering the price only works if you have a somewhat compelling product in the first place... It is simply too bizarre, too limited and the documentation is lousy. 


     


      It doesn't sound like you are actually proficient with the product.   I don't think anything comes close to Filemaker for speed, flexibility, and ease of development, provided you understand the paradigm.  


     


    The problem is that when it's time to deploy, you need to pay around $300/seat for a full-blown development environment (Filemaker Pro), when what's really needed is a lightweight cheap client like Filemaker GO.

  • Reply 18 of 54
    studentxstudentx Posts: 112member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post


    Having used and created a QA database using FileMaker Professional back in 2004, no one I worked with adopted it. This software is in its own little world. Too many restrictions. Too much money. The QA and engineering department needed something easy that didn't cost $2000 to access a web database. They went back to their old way of printing out and delivering bug reports to individual developers and testers. This is one of the reasons why they suck.


     


    Apple's operating system is $19. Their most expensive software is $499. No one is going to buy a database program for $2,000.



     


    It seems like every time I read some comment about how FileMaker sucks that person has not used it in 5, 10, 15 years or more.


     


    It's like telling me how slow the original 2009 iPhone was ignoring the fact that Apple now sells super slick iPhone 5.


     


    So you haven't used FileMaker since version 7 while the rest of us are using version 11 and/or 12 (already a year old).

  • Reply 19 of 54
    dreyfus2dreyfus2 Posts: 1,067member
    the_steve wrote: »
      It doesn't sound like you are actually proficient with the product.   I don't think anything comes close to Filemaker for speed, flexibility, and ease of development, provided you understand the paradigm.  

    The problem is that when it's time to deploy, you need to pay around $300/seat for a full-blown development environment (Filemaker Pro), when what's really needed is a lightweight cheap client like Filemaker GO.

    Huh? It sounds like you have no idea what else is out there... FM has one undeniable strength: you can deploy on Windows PCs and Macs (and, keeping some exceptions in mind, on iOS devices). That is why we still use it for a few things, but everybody hates it. But compared to even Access or Paradox, a simple task like getting data out of a RDBMS, running a subquery and a custom sortation on it and outputting the result in something like a drill-down or complex grouped master-detail report, a task we face almost daily, FM is dead last. The layout manager for forms is a nightmare, the reporting module is the poorest in existence and basic SQL support is close to zero. The Claris Works approach and GUI was good for the most basic tasks two to three decades ago. A major overhaul never happened.

    No idea why I would pay $300/seat to deploy anything. The runtimes created by the "pro advanced" version do work fine and the FM server does not require individual CALs.
  • Reply 20 of 54
    studentxstudentx Posts: 112member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by dreyfus2 View Post





    Lowering the price only works if you have a somewhat compelling product in the first place. How many people are there saying "I would buy FM12 if it were $100 cheaper"? Ten? Twenty?


     


    Beats the shit out of Access. FileMaker is far more powerful and robust.

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