In my "Dreaming a New Delphi Era" I envisioned, among many other elements,  "More Alternatives with a Smaller Core IDE, More Subscription Levels , and More Flexible Distribution"... Now there are practical sign this can be the direction DevCo takes with Delphi. Over at non-tech, in this thread, Chris Pattinson (Q&A Manager for BDS, at DevCo) states that (I've edited the text, but the meaning should be preserved):

  • DevCo is working on a new installer technology that would allow them to much more easily provide updates to customers.

  • With this technology, DevCo could stop using the 'old school' model of a major release every year, followed by a big rush of sales.

  • At the opposite, a customer could just buys BDS and then select which modules to update, which components to install, and so on, and pay accordingly for the specific modules or sign up for a subscription with a yearly fee that let's you downlaod each and every module.

  • The DevCo development team would need to provide valueable incremental periodic updates to make that attractive. For example, if the team could easily release an update Documentation, or set of Unicode VCL components to subscription users, withoutwaiting for the next major release.

Very interesting model, I think. Also if Borland could turn more and more sales into direct sales, I guess they could benefit of a direct customer relationship and earn a larger amount of what the customers pays, removing one or two (expensive) box-moving operations in between. I still hope that ebooks, training videos, third party components and the like could be involved in the deal. Possibly even a "platinum-subscription-only" newsgroup with access to the Delphi gurus -- who could be paid to dwelll there.