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Developers Balk at VS2010 Price Points

In the wake of the VS2010 beta 2 release last week, Microsoft announced a simplified packaging and pricing scheme for professional developers.

In response to my Deal or No Deal on VS2010 Pricing blog posting last week, all of the readers who weighed in—except one who suggested the free Express options-- had issues with the new packaging scheme. Your verdict: No deal.

Mike of Bloomington said:

"The simplified packaging is appreciated. Hefty price increases are tough to deal with. We get our MDSN Premium through an Enterprise agreement for all our MS software. The cost of this agreement is already significant for our regional hospital."

Paul of Los Angeles commented:

"Microsoft is making a big mistake pricing Visual Studio this way. This would have been the perfect opportunity to get more developers on board with .NET and WPF. Instead, they're going to lose more developers to the open source crowd, there will be fewer Windows 7 apps available for consumers, and Windows Mobile will fade away as Apple grows with their iPhone apps. Such a shame. I really like working with Visual Studio, but I think it's time [to] open my horizons perhaps."

Anthony commented:

"Not all users of Visual Studio are developers. For example I'm involved in engineering and programs are written by one individual (engineer) for in-house use. The programs are primarily functional with no frills. Any Visual Studio beyond Standard would be a waste of money. Sorry, there will be no upgrade."

And several readers who preferred anonymity weighed in:

"I develop productivity apps to help employees do their jobs more efficiently. With the price increases, I do not think our CIO will be able to show an ROI for the upgrade. We do not develop applications for resale, we are just a small company that is trying to stay in business."

"This is a huge disappointment to me as I have been looking to enter the Microsoft development world from the Open Source and Mac side - where IDEs and deployment costs are minimum to none compared to this. Develop and deploy apps for iPhone: $100 (w/ a Mac). Develop and deploy apps for Windows Mobile: $1300?!?! Really Microsoft... is this how you hope to continue dominance in the market?"

"The whole VS package is rapidly turning .NET programmers into a hide-bound society of technicians trapped in an endless cycle of adaptation to new MS approaches, instead of helping them become ever more skillful and productive in design, architecture, and implementation…. I totally agree with Steve Forte [who voted for one version of Visual Studio] -- MS is losing its appeal fast, and won't capture new generations of excited and productive developers by pricing them out of the game with idiotically complicated packaging schemes. Successful marketing is based on making it *easy* for the customer, but that principle seems too simple for the complexity-addicts at MS."

"There is always the Express version for those on the way up (or down). That is priced just right (to kill the market for competitors (if there were any))."

For people who need more than what is offered in the Express editions (which traditionally have not supported add-ins or extensions) but don't want to fork over $800 or more for VS2010 Professional, Microsoft's Polita Paulus in the Developer Division offers hope that more promotions may appear around the launch. In response to a blog reader's query about the upgrade plight of VS Standard users, Paulus wrote:

"We will have a price promotion at launch to help reduce the costs for existing Standard customers, but we aren't announcing specifics at this time."

In the same comment thread, Doug Seven, the senior product manager of Visual Studio Team System, explained what is meant when Microsoft says all VS2010 users will have access to Team Foundation Server 2010, which has basic, advanced and custom installation options:

"Team Foundation Server 2010 will be included in the MSDN subscription that comes with Visual Studio 2010 Professional, Premium, Ultimate, and Test Elements. This copy of Team Foundation Server is licensed for unlimited development and test use (as is all MSDN software) and licensed for one production deployment. These MSDN subscriptions also include one CAL….

Team Foundation Server will also be available in retail for around $500 USD and will include a license term allowing up to five (5) named users without CALs to use Team Foundation Server. To grow to more than five users, simply buy CALs for the new users. This enables small teams of five or fewer to get up and running on Team Foundation Server for as little as $500 USD."

Is Microsoft out of touch with today's economic realities? Express your thoughts on Visual Studio's pricing and the "new normal," which at many dev shops includes mandates to use less expensive or open source alternatives. Or drop me a line at [email protected]

Posted by Kathleen Richards on 10/27/2009

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