Bartender App’s New Owners: Transparency Questions Loom

The Bartender app, a popular tool among Mac users for managing menu bar icons, has recently transitioned to new ownership under circumstances that have sparked discussions and concerns within its user community. The change was made approximately two months ago but was neither announced by the previous owner nor by the new management, which only came to light through vigilant Reddit users and notifications from MacUpdater.

Timeline and Discovery:

  • Sale Discovery: The sale of Bartender was first noticed when MacUpdater issued alerts about potential security risks due to the ownership change. These alerts were triggered by updates starting from version 5.0.52, which were flagged as potentially unsafe without transparency about the new ownership.
  • Community Alert: Users on Reddit were the first to discuss these updates publicly, questioning the sudden changes and lack of official communication.

Reactions from the New Owners:

  • Initial Acknowledgment: In response to the growing unease among users, the new owners addressed the community directly on Reddit. They confirmed the acquisition of Bartender from Ben S, the original developer, emphasizing that the re-signing of the app was a necessary step for rolling out future updates.
  • Communication Shortcomings: Despite this acknowledgment, the new owners did not provide satisfactory answers about their identities or their future plans for Bartender, which added to the unease among the user base.

Community’s Response and Concerns:

  • Request for Transparency: Users have actively sought more detailed information about the identity of the new owners and their long-term intentions for the app. The lack of forthcoming details has led to frustration and speculation.
  • Website Updates: Following the backlash, the Bartender website was updated to include information about the certificate change. Although it reassured users that the new certificate was “expected and valid,” it did not clarify the circumstances surrounding the purchase.

Implications of the Ownership Change:

  • Security Concerns: With the change in ownership and the associated updates, users have expressed concerns about the security of their data and the integrity of the app under new management.
  • Future of Bartender: The uncertainty about the new owners’ plans and their approach to transparency might influence the app’s popularity and trustworthiness among its user base.

Looking Forward: The acquisition of Bartender raises significant questions about the responsibilities of app developers and owners in communicating with their users, especially regarding changes that could affect user security and app functionality. The incident underscores the need for clear and proactive communication strategies to maintain trust and provide reassurance to users during transitions of this nature.

MacReview verdict

As the situation unfolds, it remains to be seen how the new owners will address the community’s concerns and what steps they will take to ensure the continued popularity and reliability of Bartender. The Bartender community will undoubtedly keep a close watch, eager for updates that will either restore their confidence or potentially lead them to look for alternatives.

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