Agreed, it is a shame, always sad to see these things, but it's getting more common nowadays. I've only really used a couple of the freebie themes over the years, especially the Xmas one which is imo one of the best looking xmas themes out there. I do look in occasionally to see what they're up to.
bloc, I'm surprized they never really moved on with the responsive side of things, perhaps this would have happened if the next version of SMF had been out, but I don't know the reasons for holding back.
According to their topic it seems they are looking at other markets, probably Wordpress. Which can be tough because there are so many providers there.
SMF is small market, even smaller nowadays, I don't think you can survive as a theme provider without staying ahead of the others. DZ hasn't done this, and floated on that thinking for years. They were reliable themes, yes, but played it to safe IMO.
For my part I've dropped SMF - 2.0 line is old now and 2.1 haven't really taken those jumps it should have. Elkarte on the other hand..has evolved in bounds and leaps.
Thats why I am focusing my theme projects for that platform now, because its a growing, living thing with exciting features that still are mods on SMF. I will (of course) pick apart stuff there too lol, but IMHO its the SMF 3 we never got.