February 16, 2009
Embarcadero (owner of the CodeGear brand) is about to launch a subscription-based licensing deal.
Embarcadero (owner of the CodeGear brand) is about to launch a subscription-based licensing deal. According to InfoWorld, on Wednesday Embarcadero will introduce All-Access:
The All-Access program offers access to application and Web development tools, such as Delphi, JBuilder, and C++ Builder; database design and development tools, such as ER/Studio and DBArtisan; and database management tools, such as Change Manager.
You can read more in the article, which has also a quote by Swindell... or wait for the formal announcement in a couple of days... BTW, the article claims "pricing begins at $2,250 for a Bronze level".
Update (Few Hours Later)
I spotted another article talking about All-Access on SD Time at http://www.sdtimes.com/link/33280. Content is different and extra information is provided.
PS. Don't speculate about pricing until pricing is unveiled, please.
Wow, out of an act of desperation, the sales
department came up with this uninventive idea. This
is a plan that Autodesk (the makers of AutoCAD) did 8
years ago. It was an attempt to establish recurring
income since new purchases had dwindled. When it was
first implemented, it was met with harsh criticism,
and did not dissipate from the users minds for
years. A good economy helped that. To get those
yearly incomes, it migrated a lot of users to other
products. And unfortunately for them, since users
could “opt out”, it’s really not working well for
them today. I know CodeGear is still going to sell
their products the other way as well. But if they
want to get sales, do “something” for it. Here’s the
problem I have with this plan.
1. Does this plan have mass appeal?
Nope. How many people want to pay extra per year,
keep in mind $2200+ is Bronze. I’m dying to know
what Gold/Platinum is going to cost. And what do you
get? A lot of access to a lot of products that most
people won’t even use. I use Delphi; I don’t need
the other 5 programming languages. Database tools,
they are a dime a dozen.
2. Is this a plan that works with the current
Nope. Really it makes Embarcadero look like the Car
Manufactures’ and the Banks on Capitol Hill. If you
are not from the US, that was not a compliment.
Essentually still out-of-touch.
3. Was anything new added to the value of the
Nope. If anything, it’s a devaluation of the product
lines. Kind of putting them in a big barrel and
saying all you can grab for one outrageous price.
Now, I don’t want to be a “ Nay-Sayer” and not have
any ideas. God knows the world is full of them.
Embarcadero obviously are having bad sales from the
2009 products. And with the economic situation,
that’s completely understandable, and I do not fault
them for that. So, here are a few ideas I think that
could stimulate sales.
1. 4 updates per year (PS, simple patches, not full
installs). Each provides some new stupendous
functionality. That way interest is kept up, and
maintained all year long. Once I saw the D2009
feature matrix, I gave up and I am now waiting for
D2010. I’m a lost sale for the whole year. With
quarterly announcements, the excitement or tease is
maintained, until the user just can’t take it
anymore. I have been going to Torry’s for 12 years,
every day. All due to anticipation of what new
product is going to be posted.
2. The new features have to have mass broad appeal.
I don’t know who is in charge of the ideas department
over there, but the ideas are pretty weak. So, here
I will give you a couple...
a. A built-in Code Obfuscation at compile time, so
it does not need to be done as a process after the
executable is created. And don’t do some limited
half-hearted interface, like some of the other new
ideas when they come out of CodeGear.
b. Migration tools from Release to Release. My
god, I hate the updating process. How about a
better package Manager, with a database interface for
managing who sold it to us, passwords, logins,
installation procedures. This one would really be
easy to implement.
c. A serious editor interface for editing code,
like what DevExpress did with CodeRush Xpress for
Visual Studio. Quit waiting around for the 3rd party
vendors to do it correctly. They’re not.
d. A better Project Manager. That has more depth.
The one on the Welcome Page is just OK. It could be
a lot deeper and more usable.
3. And lastly, show me that you are trying to earn
your money. Jungo (who makes driver development
tools from Israel), wants me to pay them $1500 a year
maintenance. And when they called for their update
money this year, I asked them if they got Delphi 2007
working (which they said last year was on their road
map, we all know about roadmaps and what they really
mean) they said “Nope”, without any explanation. So,
I said “Nope”, but I sure as hell gave them my
explanation. Now, am I spending money on software
upgrades in these times? YES, with the companies who
earned it. Adobe with CS4 earned it. So they got
paid. AlphaSkins.com who charges me $50/year, and
adds new functionality twice a month, got paid (best
value in my 1000 components, I purchased or
downloaded). And a lot of other 3rd party vendors
got paid as well. But did Autodesk? Nope. Did
Jungo? Nope. Did CodeGear? A big nope. CodeGear
will tell you they earned it. I know I already heard
it, Unicode, Generics, Ribbons, new build
capabilities. OK, for those who needed Unicode, I
know it was a good feature. But the others, I would
put them “MAYBE” in the quarterly tease list.
I think you're underestimating what is required to
produce an update that "provides some new stupendous
functionality". For that matter, I'm not sure there
are enough stupendous ideas to even scale out over time.
I would agree that quarterly updates would be an
interesting idea but I'd rather see it in the form of
bug fixes. I find it interesting that <a
provide bug fixes sans source code that CodeGear can't
or won't provide.
I also agree that the subscription idea is not going
to work well as proposed. My company is certainly not
going to invest $2500 per developer per year to obtain
a bunch of tools we don't use. It's cheaper to just
buy the updates to Delphi as needed. I think it could
work IF they adopted a model more in keeping with MS
and Citrix. In those cases, if I purchase product X, I
can subscribe to the product for 30% per year to
maintain my rights to updates.
Finally, I still have to wonder why CodeGear doesn't
pickup the FreePascal compiler as their back-end
compiler. FP already compiles for 6 different
processor architectures and every major OS (and some
not so major). Why are they reinventing the wheel?
Pickup FP, extended it to the same point D2009 is at
and voila. I don't buy Delphi for its compiler. I buy
Delphi for its IDE and libraries. By my reckoning,
that provides the support for multi-OS AND 64-bit that
everyone is desperately waiting on.
Ok, I'll add my two cents: "Stupdendous
functionality", I agree with m: just fix the bugs and
I'll be a Happy, recurring, paying customer!
Quarterly updates with a *little* new functionality
and a whole lot of bug fixes - THAT would have me
hanging on the edge with anticipation. I invested in
Software Assurance so I always get the latest and
greatest new version and, as long as CodeGear doesn't
mess it up too badly, I'll always renew. As for this
All-Embarcadero thing, eh, it's nice but if I want a
database tool, I'll bloody well WRITE one - I AM a
developer after all and if I want a new toy I can
BUILD it with the Really Cool Gadget I keep getting
new versions of - DELPHI! I can see non-developers
needing a database tool but let's face it, most DB's
come with a nice tool to manage the database and as
for optimization, great for a Fortune 500 company -
the folks I work for aren't even on the radar and
their database would not see any great improvement
from all the goodies offered by Embarcadero - sorry
guys but I just don't NEED your tools. I DO need
Delphi, however and I need it to WORK! So give me
quarterly bug fixes and neat new stuff once a year (or
so - I would have NO problem with an 18 month delivery
cycle but I'm guessing that would kill your income
The idea of picking up the FP compiler, not a bad idea
if you can make it work - I would still like to see a
compiler that lives in a NATIVE Linux environment from
CodeGear but I won't be holding my breath...
I agree CodeGear should look into using the FP
compiler -- look at what Apple does with the GNU C
compiler -- they've learnt not to try and write their
own; much better to contribute to a rock solid Open
Source effort and add what you want (Objective C in
Apple's case). CodeGear would still have the
VCL/frameworks to develop and maintain (much like
Apple has to develop and maintain their own
frameworks). Everyone wins this way.
It's like Christmas, the retailers all year bank on
it. And when it's a bad Christmas, then they are
going to have a bad year. And when CodeGear has a
good Christmas about every 2-3 years, then coming up
with ideas like subscriptions is understandable.
Break up the feature set over quarters and keep
introducing them. They can be fixes at the same time.
That keeps it interesting. Also, I think you
overestimate stupendous, I think there is a lot of
stupendous ideas that would not be hard to implement.
I'm sure if I spent a whole day on it (1 day) I could
come up with 20. That's good for 3-5 years.
We agree, the subscription plan is not going to work
at their pricing scheme. It only works for large
corporations, and we know how much money they are
spending right now. CodeGear wants recurring income.
I don't have a problem with that, a product
subscription for Delphi or whatever product at
$800/year, I would do. As long as there we're
sizable/stupendous updates. In my Jungo example, they
want $1500/year and absolutely will do nothing for it.
It's amazing to me. Now, D2007 was a sizable update,
D2009 was not, especially when you are coming from
Or, they can just do what they keep doing and only get
most users updating every 2-3 years. I used to be a
big supporter of Delphi. I am not now, it's just a
tool. It needs those STUPENDOUS updates for it to
become that product that I used to really admire.
For those of you who are absolutely happy with paying
year after year and all you need is bugs to get fixed,
CodeGear does not have to satisfy you. Your already
there. I'm talking for the people who aren't happy
with the updates. The ones who don't pay year after
year. The money that CodeGear misses out on and
probably needs. Your bucks are locked in, you should
call Jungo, you are their kind of customer.
Now, how are you going to get the unsatisfied users to
be more loyal. Here let me be in sales for a minute
and try my pitch using the just bug fixes idea.
"To all past customers of Delphi who do not update on
a regular basis, have we got the release for you.
This time and this release only, we went back and
fixed all of our bugs. All you need to do to get a
copy is to pay $1300.00." What do you think???
Sorry, I can't even sell myself. CodeGear don't fool
yourselves in thinking all you got to do is just keep
the bugs fixed, and a few new features each release,
and the other half is going to jump on board with the
updates. There are serious STUPENDOUS things that can
be done, to make the work required to create a project
less time consuming.
To all commenters,
come on people, after so many years developers have
been asking for a "MSDN-like" subscription, I
appreciate the opportunity. I'm pretty sure you can
keep buying individual Delphi licenses, as you used
But in case you are interested in a couple of database
management tools on top of your IDE, having a single
yearly license is quite a good idea. Provided it has a
comparable price, of course.
I mean, it was quite obvious a deal was coming,
otherwise Embarcadero buying CodeGear would have been
much less interesting.
In any case, after we all know more (tomorrow, it
seems) we'll open up to any sort comment...
1) This subscription model seems more aimed at
throwing db tools at developers than viceversa.
Developers would benefit more from something like
MSDN subscriptions - on DVDs. I guess running Delphi
or JBuilder from a web connection won't work very well
- how do you install 3rd party libraries?
I too agree that support subscription and real
product maintenance beyond the actual six months
would be welcome.
2) The FP compiler is not yet on par with Delphi.
It's multiplatform, true, but just a multiplatform
compiler doesn't make a multiplatform dev tool. And
performance and code size may be more important than
multiplatform for some developers. Moreover the GPL
nature of FP doesn't help much - CodeGear would just
help a competitor that gives their product away for
free. Same old "free Delphi" department.
3) Obfuscation? Why native code should be obfuscated?
What the impact on code size and performance?
4) Apple. They doesn't make development tools. They
sell expensive hardware. They are just saving on
tools development to maximize revenues - could
CodeGear do it? Again, there could be GPL issues.
Anyway I'd prefer a GCC backend than a FP one - much
Greg Keller has a somehwat blurry video
demonstrating the virtualised applications in the new
I sure regrets spending a 10 pack licenses of D2007
Enterprise and left without any service pack. I
don't want new features, just want having my product
working as expected; but for CodeGear, bug fixes act
as new features.
I simply refuse to buy the new D2009 version since
I'm afraid it will be (again) a one-shot deal. But
Delphi is such a great language...
New version of a product every years (and for which
you have to pay every year) is like laughing out
loud right in front of developers. It's a big big
joke: it's RAD, but SAD...
So far the consensus is, fix bugs pay CodeGear. If
that's all they got to do, then it is in CodeGear's
best interest to keep bugs alive. Please CodeGear, try
coming out with a D2010 version that has a limited set
of new features. I need to save the money in 2009. I
got no problem updating every 3rd release.
I watched the video from Greg Keller, and now I'm even
more unimpressed with this ALL-ACCESS plan. Too
expensive, for a lot of non-needed capabilities. MSDN
was only $795.00 per year when I was on it. It was a
lot of CD’s that included a lot of stuff that I did
I'm only going to speculate here, I'm sure I will know
more tomorrow, but I wonder if you are not licensed to
use Delphi the following year, if you decide to not
renew. Essentially, you go from owning the software to
renting it. That's going to be the first thing I check
into when it is announced tomorrow.
Some great dialog here folks and I've pointed the exec
team and product folks from the CG side to review.
What's evident is your collective passion, and that's
cool to see. What I want to stress is that we are
truly, really, trying to do lots of things for you...
1) We're growing R & D EVERYWHERE...and that means
directly back into your trusted tools since acquiring
them from Borland. We're into it folks. We believe in
the CG tools and are injecting money and visibility
back into them for you. I don't know how else to say
it but I agree that releasing quality product will be
the demonstration of that.
2) We truly think All-Access by providing all of what
you need when you need it at attractive prices is
compelling for individuals as well as large teams. We
are not abandoning the ability for our sales guys to
sell product a-la-carte: By all means, buy Delphi
individually if you wish! It'll be there for you like
always, but spending your time to write your own
database tool(s)....why? We've got fantastic
ones...award winning and market leading ones...and can
offer them to you at great prices. Why would you waste
your/your company's time and productivity?
3) Please be informed that this is not a subscription.
All-Access when purchased is perpetual! We don't 'take
away' the tool chest once your membership expires. The
tools are yours! These are your assets to capitalize,
depreciate etc as you see fit.
I am available any time to speak to these issues and
simply want you to know that on many levels,
Embarcadero is invested in ensuring the tools you've
trusted for years are having tons injected into
them...from business/marketing programs like
All-Access through to new R & D efforts on these great
OK. Marco's title has in it "subscription-based
licensing deal". You say it is perpetual (I going to
assume as long as you keep paying). If it's not a
subscription, then are you saying there is no yearly
fee? Lastly, if I am on the plan and I download C++
to my machine, and I terminate my subscription or
membership or whatever it is called, I can continue to
use it, correct? But, what happens if I move to
another computer, I'm going to assume I cannot re-
authorize it again, unless I am back in the club. I
appreciate your well written explanation. I still
can't see how individuals are going to buy into this.
Maybe the company will blow my socks off tomorrow. And
finally put me in my place.
I guess the pricing has always seemed to much for
me. I would love to build Windows apps with Delphi
(I did start with Delphi 1.0 but went to .NET in
2004), but unless I had the work to justify the cost
I will have to stay away...
Marco, you said don't speculate about pricing until
you see it. Wow, you are right there's no way I would
have “dreamed” that the Platinum Plan was
$8,250.00/per year. My best guess was maybe 3K. Oh by
the way, it's a yearly subscription. May I quote Gregg
Keller, “3) Please be informed that this is not a
“. How Gregg Keeler can make the statement that
developers will buy into this befuddles me. I
currently use Enterprise D2007. It cost me $1300 to
upgrade from D2005. Under the plan that I would fall
under (Silver), I would now have to pay $4250.00/per
year. Wow, like I said in an earlier posting, "Out-of-
Touch". I'm sorry, but I am going to have to say, and
yes I reviewed the videos posted for on their site for
today, only a transplanted guy from sales from the
year 1999 could have come up with this idea.
Now, I'm looking into my crystal ball, I’m going to
predict the future of this great idea for Embarcadero.
And, I'm going to do it for FREE, since I think they
need a break. This idea is going to flop, and flop
big. Hum, the best ideas coming from the group who
CodeGear now belongs to, is figure out how to
repackage the same stuff, but at a completely
There's a saying in the US, and it might not work in
other countries, so you will have to excuse me when I
say it. Embarcadero and CodeGear have finally "Jumped
Under this plan, all (and there was not much left)
respect is lost. It's was presented with no shame, and
it was presented as if it were some great idea for our
benefit. Next time guys, spend a little time and money
on market research.
Brett about pricing:
- In Platinum you get DatabaseGear products having
that price tag...
- Silver has an upgrade price (if you own a past
version of Delphi Enterprise) that saves you about
35%. It costs the same of a RAD Studio upgrade with
maintenance... so you almost get 15 free products!
- The price you quote is not per year. Renewal prices
are much lower than first year.
This is because it is a sort-of-subscription but you
end up owning a license if you let it expire (unlike
I think you are really over-reacting. This is an
optional plan for buying tools, not the only way. I
know companies who own Delphi plus a couple of
database toosl and will SAVE money with this plan.
I know Marco, you have to side with the Embarcadero
guys. No more needs to be said about that.
It's a dumb plan. There's no way you can filter this
idea into anything that any developer would want to
use. I look at these ideas and decisions when
determining if there still is a future with this
company. This is just another failed attempt by them,
that demonstrates that this company is not one that I
should use when developing future products. I'm an
outspoken person, think about all the ones who don't
say anything. They may not move to other products,
but probably are holding off any decisions to move
forward. I always felt that the company strength came
from people moving forward with each release. And for
15 years I got behind them to do just that. I feel
they are just getting to be another big US Corporate
entity, with ideas that are not developer driven but
profit driven. You don't need to post this if you
don't want to.
> It cost me $1300 to upgrade from D2005. Under the
> plan that I would fall under (Silver), I would now
> have to pay $4250.00/per year. Wow, like I said in
> an earlier posting, "Out-of-Touch".
Thats not correct. The upgrade price for you since
you already own Delphi Enterprise would be $2950,
that includes the 1st yr membership which provides
support, maintenance, and other services such as
InstantOn. The membership renewals there after would
be $1700yr. The list price of all the products
included is over $20k. Clearly you wouldn't use all
of them, but the total value is about 10x with price
between 2x and 3x the price of buying or upgrading a
single product. If you use two or more tool then it's
a great value.
It is not a subscription in that all products
activated are licensed perpetually, so if you do not
renew, you can continue to run and reinstall the
products that you've activated during the membership
Of course you can always continue to purchase
products individually as you always have if you only
require a single product.
You are not a market. You are one coder deep in the
trenches. There are other enviroments and situations
besides yours -- i.e. there is a bigger picture. I
think your predictions are way off.
Hey King of All Access,
What's the matter, no name. why don't you use
anonymous, at least you don't look like an Embarcadero
employee. P.S. There are tens of thousands of
developers using Delphi, from what I can guess. I
heard 3 million from CodeGear on one posting from year
ago. But, I will go with 10's of thousands. Let's
see what percentage of the market jumps on this really
good idea of a plan.
No offense, but you're coming off as ignorant and
uninformed. I think you saw "subscription" and blew a
gasket. From all of the indications I've gotten from
Embarcadero this is NOT a subscription, but a
membership. You are not left out to dry after a year.
You own the products you purchased. You just won't
get the new versions if you don't renew your
membership. Renewing is also a fraction of the
This looks like a steal if you need a couple of their
DB tools. If you are looking at, say Delphi, but want
Rapid SQL, DBArtisan or ER/Studio for database
development/management/modeling, any of those tools
combined will cost more than the lower levels of
If you read Mr. Keller's post, you can still buy the
products a la carte.
I think you need to step away. Take a couple deep
breaths and talk to Embarcadero to see what it's all
Yesterday I was able to meet with David I and Sven
Wetmore from Embarcadero. They spent a few hours
with us at our office and then later at a user group
meeting. I was able to sit down and look at the
product offering of All-Access. I also was able
to get quotes from a previous sales call.
Currently our budgets have been lowered. I can not
add anything that was not already planned for,
unless I drop somthing else. But when that
condition changes I will seriously consider the
offering. The prices appeared to be targeted at
people who have 2-3 upper end products, and want
access to everything else.
We have competitive products on the database side
but all-access may cause us to drop these products
and switch (depending on analysis of the features in
RapidSQL and ER/Studio)
I know there are 3 licensing models available.
1. Per Seat
2. Per Named User
Phil Rathle Embarcadero, Director of Product
Management, gives an overview of All Access in a
seven minute video linked from the Embarcadero
Developer Network web site -
The video is in the lower right hand corner of the
Personally I think the All Access model is great.
Though it does have one slight downside which I'll
discuss after the good points.
I have no ties to Borland/CodeGear/Embarcadero and I
can say whatever I like about them.
If you just want Delphi for Win32 it's probably not
for you, so don't get it! Too much price difference.
If you want RAD Studio then it's going to cost a
little bit more if you want all access, so you need
to ask yourself it you will actually use any of the
additional products. If you are going to use even one
additional product then you're going to be about even
Remember the perpetual licences for any products you
register will not expire, you do not actually need to
renew after the first year.
The truly brilliant thing is that you can also get
the next version of the product if it's released
while your all access pass is valid.
So lets say you had just bought RAD Studio 2009
Enterprise, and then RAD Studio 2010 came out. With
the All Access pass you're entitled to it with no
extra cost, with the solo RAD Studio purchase you
need to pay for the upgrade, taking the total cost to
almost the same as the all access pass.
Using RAD Studio + just 1 addition product makes the
all access pass around the same value and risk free
regarding any new versions for the next year (ever
wondered if you should get the current version or
wait for the next one which is due out in 3 months?
All-Access you can upgrade now and then upgrade later
too). 2 additional products and you have a saving.
The one downside I think Embarcadero should consider
addressing is an "upgrade to all access" for existing
users. The above comparisons are based on new user
licences, which make the all access pass a very
viable and attactive option. The upgrade from an old
product options for individual products however offer
considerable savings, which should be available to
existing customers rather than having to effectively
start over with a new licence purchase.
In my opinion you should be able to reduce the price
of moving to an all access pass by the same
reductions you would recieve if you were to upgrade
all your current products (with a possible cap to
prevent it being free for anyone with lots of
products). So a RAD Studio 2009 user should be able
to save the price difference of a new licence and an
upgrade to the 2010 version for that product. If they
also have an existing DBArtisan licence they should
be able to save the price difference there too. This
means they're paying the same amount for an all
access upgrade as they would for a normal upgrade and
any extra cost for all access can be better compared
against the additional products they're receiving.
Yes, they're getting alot more product for their
cash, but anything they don't already have is
obviously not critical to their business so is just
paying for something they don't use, which no one
wants to do, but they might like to use a few of the
As an example £1999 for a new RAD Studio Enterprise
licence + £1071 for a new JBuilder licence = £3070.
So you would of course want to save money and get a
bunch of extra products and free upgrades for a year
by getting all access silver for £3036.
But for an upgrader they're comparing £1285 for RAD
Studio + £530 for Jbuilder upgrade (£1815) against
£3036 again. Which is not nearly as attractive. If
they could save the same £714 on the RAD Studio
upgrade and £535 on JBuilder (£1249) they save with
upgrades on an All Access Upgrade, bringing the price
down to £1787, it would save them money again and
therefore they would of course get the cheaper All
Assuming they get hooked on a few more products once
they try them the only viable option will be all
access, it will save them money every time.
As it stands though the All access pass is really
only attractive to new users, which as can be seen
makes many existing users feel unloved. It's kind of
like you're in an open relationship Borland. Sure you
accept the fact that they get it on with other
people. But it hurts when you watch them giving all
their attention to finding a new partner and the only
time they give you any love it's brief and lackluster.
there is indeed an Upgrade price for existing users to
move to All Access, although you'll need a high level
SKU to get the higher levels of AllAccess.
I agree with most of your remarks, though.
Indeed, my apologies about that Marco, I had read so
much blog I skipped/skimmed the last few. Which
included the one from Embarcadero that said they had
I read up and saw these afterwards and decided to
come back and post a "whoops" comment, you're so on
the ball you got there first though :)
In which case the only major failing is that they do
not currently publish the fact there is an upgrade
path in the online store. If users could see it was
more viable they may well purchase it, even if the
pricing isn't fixed for an upgrade version just
knowing it was possible but that you needed to call
would be great.
Post Your Comment
here for posting
your feedback to this blog.
There are currently 0 pending (unapproved) messages.