VCL subscription and v2011.1 news

ctodx
13 June 2011

(UPDATE: I've published some new information about our VCL plans here. By all means read this, but realize that there's more that's not covered here.)

After some great feedback from you, our customers, and a bit of analysis on the data in our sales database, we’ve revamped our ideas on the subscription packs that we’ll be providing and have decided on upgrade pricing and the like. To recap, with the next major release of our VCL controls we’re going to move our licensing to an annual subscription basis and we’re going to be adopting the DXperience version naming convention (essentially year-dot-release, so the first one will be v2011.1).

PlannerTo be clear, by subscription we mean that, when you purchase one, you get a perpetual license to use the controls in the product, lifetime support, and the right to all updates and upgrades for a full 12 months from the time of purchase. At the end of the year you can decide whether to renew the maintenance component of the license to get all the updates/upgrades for the next 12 months. If you don’t renew immediately, be aware that the renewal price increases on a month by month pro-rata basis until it reaches the full price again.

Subscription packs

First things first: the subscription product packs. We’ve added a new one from when I last spoke about this because it fits a lot of customers’ profiles and control usage. There will now be four packages.

VCL Subscription. This is the same as we have now, for the same price ($1499.99) and annual upgrade price ($599.99). It comprises essentially everything we do for Delphi and C++Builder. This package attracts our priority support. No changes here.

ExpressQuantumPack. Although this has the same name as a pack we currently ship, it has changed in two ways. Firstly, it’s now sold on a subscription basis. Secondly, we’ve enhanced its reach. The ExpressQuantumPack is now targeted at developers who want to use the preeminent VCL grid on the market to its best advantage. It comprises the ExpressQuantumGrid and data editors, the layout manager to allow you to easily and quickly create flexible forms, the printing and exporting library so that you can publish your grid data, and the skinning library so that you can produce that cutting-edge look-and-feel your users want. The first year price is $799.99, with subsequent years costing $319.99 annually.

ExpressGridPack. This pack takes the controls in the ExpressQuantumPack as a foundation and adds the two remaining grid-like controls: the pivot grid (ExpressPivotGrid) and the tree list (ExpressQuantumTreeList). The first year price is $999.99; subsequent years are $399.99 annually.

ExpressNavigationPack. This pack is for those developers who are not necessarily creating applications that display tabular data, but that still need basic functionality like ribbons, bars, menus, and navigation controls. In other words, the infrastructure of a modern application. The pack comprises ExpressBars, ExpressNavBar, the layout manager and the skinning library. The first year price is $599.99; subsequent years are $239.99 annually.

Upgrade paths

Now for the upgrade paths. Traditionally, as you know, we’ve sold individual Suites on an upgrade basis. From v2011.1, we will no longer do so: the only way of getting the VCL controls is through purchasing one of the packs. So we considered how are we going to help and encourage people to move to this new world in the fairest manner possible.

The first point we decided on is to provide a 12 month “amnesty” period to allow you to upgrade the Suite you own to v2011.1 without having to purchase a subscription immediately. This gives you the ability to get the latest code and still have time to evaluate which pack to upgrade to and to budget for it. I will emphasize that, in 12 months’ time, the only way to get updates and upgrades is to switch to a subscription pack.

The Suites that fall under this amnesty plan are:

  • The ExpressBars Suite ($79.99/$59.99)
  • The ExpressQuantumGrid Suite ($199.99/$179.99)
  • The ExpressPivotGrid Suite ($131.99)
  • The ExpressLayout Control ($99.99)

The double prices shown are the upgrade prices with/without source for the current major version; single upgrade prices indicate the product is only available with source, again for the current major version. These upgrade prices will be offered for 60 days from the day of release of v2011.1. After that, they will no longer be available.

If you have an older version than the current major version, the upgrade prices change. For one version earlier than the current major version, the upgrade price is 70% of the current product price; for two versions old, the upgrade is 85% of the current product price. Anything older than that, there is no upgrade path.

An extra bonus is that we shall be bundling the new version of ExpressPrinting System for free if you’ve previously purchased it..

Promoting to a subscription pack

In our efforts to be fair about the costs of promoting your licenses to a subscription pack, this is where it gets complicated. We recognize that there is no “one price fits all” solution to this—and indeed such a solution will be unfair to many customers—so we’re going to have to do this on a case-by-case basis. The calculation we shall apply will be this one:

Pack priceCost of Licenses already purchased + Cost of upgrades

Or, since the cost of upgrades is pegged at 40% of the original price (except as noted above), we’ll use:

Pack price60% * Cost of Licenses already purchased

Let’s illustrate:

1. Suppose you just own a license to ExpressBars. You decide that the closest pack you can promote to is ExpressNavigationPack. The calculation we’ll do is:

$599.99 (cost of pack) – $199.99 (cost of ExpressBars as individual product) + $79.99 (upgrade cost for ExpressBars) = $479.99 

2. You want your licenses to be promoted to ExpressNavigationPack. You already own Bars, Layout, and Skins, but not NavBar. Your price will be:

$599.99 – 0.6 * ($199.99 (Bars) + $249.99 (Layout) + $199.99 (Skins)) = $210.00

If you have any questions about the cost in your particular case, our client services department will be glad to help.

Warnings – Danger, Will Robinson!

The new subscription installer will not contain any previous versions of our VCL products. The old product versions cannot be installed and used alongside with the new subscription versions. Remember that one of the overriding goals of the new subscription plans is to update everything at the same time, and to avoid the incompatibilities and support issues of running an older version of X with the latest version of Y.

A couple of examples will illustrate the problem:

1. You own ExpressQuantumGrid Suite v6 (or earlier) and ExpressBars Suite v6 (or earlier) and you want to upgrade only the grid to ExpressQuantumPack or ExpressGridPack. The ExpressBars Suite version you have will be unavailable for installation in the new subscription installer. Moreover, the new installer will remove the current ExpressBars Suite installation because it is incompatible with the new subscription version (v2011.1).

2. The same background – you own ExpressQuantumGrid Suite v6 (or earlier) and ExpressBars Suite v6 (or earlier) and you want to upgrade only the bars to ExpressNavigationPack. Likewise, the installer will remove the installed ExpressQuantumGrid Suite due to version incompatibilities.

So, you need to carefully consider your upgrade options and select the packs that include all the products you want to work with.

Timetable

The VCL team are ready to publish v2011.1; the final install is complete. The web site has been changed to reflect this new information and is being proofread and final edits are being applied. The sales system is being updated with the new pricing and promotion calculations.

We will release this week.

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