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Why buy tech support with software?

I'm thinking of buying a license for Borland's "Together for Microsoft Visual Studio .NET 2003", because it's the only product I've found (barring Rational's XDE, which I haven't evaluated) that can reverse-engineer Sequence Diagrams from C# source code.

The cost of a license is $200. With that, you can also buy a $1000 "Quality Assurance" license, that entitles you to 3 "incidents" and one year's-worth of upgrades.

During my 15 day free trial evaluation, I discovered 7 missing features that'd like, and 5 outright bugs, that I posted to the borland.public.together.edition.msvisualstudio forum.

My question is whether to buy (or why it would be worth buying) the relatively expensive Quality Assurance license. $1000 would seem to me worthwhile, if and only if:

* An incident entailed Borland's actually fixing for you any bug that you report
* And/or, Borland will release more than 5 new releases in the coming year, each at $200, all of which I want
* And/or, one new release within the year, if the price of this next release increases to over $1000.

Does anyone here have any insight into Borland's support practices, or know where (apart from here) I can ask this question?

I'm also concerned that if I found 5 bugs in a 15-day evaluation (4 of which weren't previously reported on the newsgroup), then having only 3 "incidents" may not be enough. Is Borland interested in having bugs in their product reported to them, no matter that the source of the bug report? And/or do they have they have a policy like Microsoft's, that an incident which is caused by a bug in the product and not caused by user error counts as a "free" incident?

Christopher Wells
Wednesday, September 1, 2004

i'd buy it if I ran into a problem that was going to cost me more than $1000 to figure out -- do you have the option of not buying it until you run into something, or is it "up front or never"?
Wednesday, September 1, 2004

Something is screwy in that Software Assurance pricing.  Borland typically offers 1-year of SA for 20 to 25% of the cost of the full license.

For some reason Together for VS.NET is only $200 while all the other versions of Together are $2k to $6k.  I think the SA price must be meant for the more expensive versions, not for the VS.NET version.  Not sure that's the error, but I'm sure they aren't intending to charge $1k for 1-year of Software Assurance for a $200 product.

Herbert Sitz
Wednesday, September 1, 2004

I would be positively surprised if official Borland incidence reports get your bugs fixed. Borland recent track record for fixing bugs is rather poor. Just browse their newsgroups to see plenty of frustrated users.

Borland's management seems to think that adding more fluff with enterprise type acronyms brings home more money than caring for their core products. They could well be right.

Jan Derk
Wednesday, September 1, 2004

Why buy "extended warranties" with your washing machine?

Because on the off chance that you'll actually need it, the department store makes out like a bandit. Thousands of people spend $50 each and only 0.000003% of them ever need any warranty work done.
Wednesday, September 1, 2004

"Up front or never?"

If so then in this case it seems to me that if later you decide you needed the $1000 support you could buy another license for $200, and on that one spend the additional $1000. (Wastes $200 later rather than $1000 now).

Wednesday, September 1, 2004

Here's the code that comes to mind:

(you pay $1000 for Software Assurance License)
you == moron

Bob's Your Uncle
Wednesday, September 1, 2004

I think the code should be

if (you == moron)
(yourBankAccount = yourBankAccount - 1000)

Thursday, September 2, 2004

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