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For anyone who’s ever yearned for a dependable text editor, your prayers have been answered. Even better, it’s shareware, thanks to Emurasoft.

For anyone who’s ever yearned for a dependable text editor, your prayers have been answered. Even better, it’s shareware, thanks to Redmond-based Emurasoft. Founder and president Yutaka Emura talks about Japan, branding, and seeing customers do the development work.

How did Emurasoft get started?

I created some games for Windows both in Japanese and in English during the Windows 3.1 era. Since there were not so many Windows games at that time, they became popular and were introduced in some books and magazines both in the U.S. and in Japan. At that time, I was working at Intel Japan, and programming was something I really enjoyed as a hobby. I later created a communication program called “EmTerm,” which became very popular in Japan.

Then, I thought I could make a living through something I enjoy, like creating shareware. So, I left Intel to be an independent shareware author and founded EmSoft in 1995. I founded U.S. Emurasoft to market our products to the U.S. in 2001.

What are the greatest challenges that you see in running Emurasoft?

We still keep an office in Japan for supporting Japanese customers, but it has become challenging to keep both offices while maintaining our profit. While many of our customers are in Japan, it is also challenging to keep up with latest news in Japan and to maintain a good communication with Japanese customers.

What are some of the differences in marketing the product in Japan, compared to marketing it in the U.S.?

Compared to Japan, branding is more important in the United States, and it has been a challenge for us. No one wants to try products that no one knows. Also, text editors are more popular in Japan and used not only by programmers but also many non-technical people. Many of the customers in the United States are technical people like programmers and engineers, so it’s also our goal to let more non-technical people know what they could do with our text editor.

What makes EmEditor different than other text editors?

EmEditor supports Unicode, which is a satisfactory encoding method to edit multiple languages. While most other editors claim they support Unicode, they actually convert Unicode to ANSI characters in opening files and in saving documents, and they cannot edit multiple languages at the same time. EmEditor is based on an internal Unicode architecture, thus it does not have a problem dealing with multiple languages at the same time. The next major version of EmEditor will support JavaScript or VBScript macros based on the Windows Scripting Host.

What are some of the challenges in making shareware products?

I enjoy making shareware products, and I don’t think there is any difference between shrink-package products and shareware products when creating programs. The way to sell is different, but the way I’m able to communicate with customers for shareware products is wonderful. I can get direct feedback from customers, I can have them try new beta versions, and they feel they participate in developing the products. Customers give me many good opinions, and as I answer their questions and discuss issues or features of the products, good ideas emerge, and the products evolve.

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