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A little discussion on pricing ...

Over on the Borland news server there is a pretty interesting discussion going on regarding the merits of two different enhancements for the Borland Delphi IDE.

Product 'A' makes the IDE do everything except stand on its head.  All kinds of useful goodies and dodads.  Price - $400, no trial version available.  In some cases this means the add-on costs more than the entire development tool.

Product 'B' does most of what product 'A' does, or at least seems to.  Product 'B' has just been released, and it is not much of a stretch to imagine that the vendor of product 'B' wanted to knockoff/clone Product 'A'.  His price - $50.

Pricing a software product is always tricky.  Would the vendor of Product 'A' sell 8x more copies if he dropped his price to $50?  Would the vendor of Product 'B' still have a viable product if he charged $400 instead of 50?

What are your thoughts?

Mitch & Murray (from downtown)
Thursday, April 03, 2003

My first thought is that for a lot of people, $50 is a close first approximation to free. All it needs is a couple of decent reviews, especially if it compares favourably with the more expensive product, and it should do quite well. If it turns out to be someone 'losing a little on each one, but making it up in volume', then there might be problems down the road, but in the absence of a trial version of the more expensive product, I'd probably take a chance.
An example from my own experience is the difference between something like the Rational line of object modelers and Enterprise Architect (http://www.sparxsystems.com.au/). EA was hardly free (couple of hundred dollars), but Rational stuff is expensive enough that there's no point me even evaluating it.
On a related note, I seldom even consider a product that doesn't offer 3 things on their website: free evaluation version, clearly stated pricing, and public knowledge base or support forum.

Ron Porter
Thursday, April 03, 2003

Have a look in there for some insight:

http://www.softwaremarketsolution.com/
http://www.aegis-resources.com/

This was recommended by Joel and I bought their book and marketing templates.

Well, what an eye opener...

Philippe Back
Friday, April 04, 2003

> clearly stated pricing

For me this is my biggest pet hate. As soon as I see the line "please contact our sales representatives for pricing details" I close the browser, no matter what the product is.

What are they afraid of? I don't walk into a shop and expect to see signs saying contact the shop staff for full pricing details. If they can't evaluate and state what the value of their product is, what else does that imply...

l.o.g.
Friday, April 04, 2003

Or when I see "skip intro" or links opening new windows...

Walter Rumsby
Friday, April 04, 2003

Would you like to share the google groups link?  It sounds like more information would be useful, otherwise we're talking x's and y's.

I'm sure people with more experience than I can chime in, but it seems nuts for A to kill its price to match B.  That's throwing away its reputation.

The reason people say "contact sales for price" is because they're not selling to normal engineers.  Those guys find out it's $400, it's all over, because they imagine themselves shelling out the cash.  Instead, they'd rather talk to a money guy, who can buy a site license and justify the cost as a tiny fraction of each person's expense.  If this IDE is all-singing, maybe they offer support and lose money by supporting individuals, so they want to discourage small purchases.

If that is the case, the $50 guys are not overlapping with A as much as one might expect.  Of course, it would be nice to know exactly what products we're talking about.

Tj
Friday, April 04, 2003

Sounds like a job for the Black-Scholes option pricing equation... http://www.mindfulsoftware.com/Options.pdf .

Richard Rodger
Friday, April 04, 2003

The major reason why sites don't tell you what the product costs is: they don't have one set price.

This generally means that buying the product is a large investment not only in the software itself, but in services for customization and deployment. So listing a price is impossible until they know what you want.

Sites like that are selling to enterprises. Move along and find a small- or mid-market product (you'll recognize them, because they give prices on the site!).

Brad (dotnetguy.techieswithcats.com)
Friday, April 04, 2003

Ron - agreed 100% on the "things you should have on the web page". I was going to post yesterday that I won't pay for a product I can't evaluate.

How do you like EA? Is it worth the $$$?

Philo

Philo
Friday, April 04, 2003

Here is Product 'A':

http://www.eagle-software.com/coderush.htm

and here is Product 'B':

http://www.delphi-expert.com/products/castalia/


Anyone here shell out the full $400+ for CodeRush?

Mitch & Murray (from downtown)
Friday, April 04, 2003

M&M/"guys with the leads":

I'm glad you posted these links because you got my curiosity aroused. I use, and I adore, Delphi as a development environment. And I just don't see what compelling value that either of these addons bring to the Delphi IDE. For some reason, I don't sit in front of Delphi pining that it lacks some feature that really belongs in a text editor.


And Coderush for $400?! Gimme a break.  Yes, the lack of an evaluation version is a deal killer. It looks like an interesting addon but not $400 worth of interesting. Or, I could see a REALLY whiz bang add on environment for $400 but it should integrate with the world, not just one declining 4GL that nobody wants to use anymore...


I use Multi-Edit (street price ~$90) with built in Delphi IDE integration. It has excellent file differencing which is the only "important" feature lacking in the Delphi IDE. And ME has a built in macro language plus the internal guts to hook into anyone's IDE, given the ingenuity to program it. The form designer features of these two products you cite are interesting but are not compelling at the price. Some of the form designer features of Code Rush such as hiding of non visual components could probably be done as individual small add ons for far less.


M&M, were you considering buying Code Rush or was this post more of a request to observe an ongoing train wreck? I just don't 'get' the value of this product. Just curious.

Bored Bystander
Friday, April 04, 2003

I'm pretty much with you on this - we are a Delphi shop here when it comes to application development, and I just couldn't see the $400 CodeRush deal.  I mean, what the hell are these guys thinking?  On the other hand, maybe they get enough bites to make this worthwhile.

It is an interesting pricing strategy, and I was curious what the rest of the JOS crowd thought about this whole thing, hence my post.

Mitch & Murray (from downtown)
Friday, April 04, 2003

I bought Product A for Delphi 3, and every version since. While Product B offers some of the flashier things, it doesn't even come close to the offerings of Product A.

Also, Product A comes in two flavours (both offering TONS more than Product B), one priced at $249 and one at $420. The less expensive has most of the features of the Pro version. However, the declaration view alone is worth the difference in price.

Tim Sullivan
Friday, April 04, 2003

An interesting thing to note here.

It's very likely that "Product A" didn't put out a trial version, precisely because they were so expensive. Most people wouldn't bother to attempt to hack away the trial version code to unlock the magic features of a $50 product, but they might for a $500 product.

Brad (dotnetguy.techieswithcats.com)
Friday, April 04, 2003

Philo- comments on EA:

I bought it and still haven't decided whether I actually like it :) I've been trying to get a handle on UML for what seems like forever and now that I've actually found something seemingly useful for a reasonable price, I'm more convinced than ever that I'll never grok UML. I guess EA is fine--it's my head that doesn't work!

I think that the EA team does everything right: frequent builds with close attention paid to user requests, bug reports, and long-term planning; excellent public forum supporting a strong user community and closely monitored by the developers, etc. If you think you need a modeller, but don't have lots of cash, then it's tough to imagine a better way to go.

Ron Porter
Friday, April 04, 2003

Hmm, there's a link to order Coderush under the feature matrix.  Pro is $420, standard is $250.
https://secure.nameservers.com/eagle-software.com/NewOrderTo7.htm

Tj
Saturday, April 05, 2003

Nevermind, I thought people were claiming it didn't have prices listed.

Tj
Saturday, April 05, 2003

As one who knows the developer of product B, and has watched its evolution since inception, I'd like to add a couple of things to this discussion:

1) Product B was not designed to be a knockoff of product A.  In fact, Jacob (the developer) didn't even know of product A's existance when he started product B.  All of the features of product B were concieved and developed independantly, as far as I know.

2) Product A does a hell of a lot more than product B.  The statement that "product B does most of what product A does" is grossly wrong.  Product B is designed for a different purpose.  They have different target markets, and in my opinion, aren't really competitors.  Its a shame that they probably can't be used together, though Jacob says that no one has tried yet.  At least no one has told him.

DD

DD
Sunday, April 06, 2003

I have a purchased copy of CodeRush and have used it.

It is, in my opinion, semi-useless. It slows down the IDE a lot.

While some options are appealing, most of CodeRush is designed only for programmers who can remember a few tenths of keyboard shortcuts, and maybe another few tenths of abbreviations.

If you don't have the memory to remember that EASILY, don't even think about using CodeRush.

RushMan
Monday, April 14, 2003

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