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Thread: Upgrade from Version 4.5 to 5.0

  1. #1
    Glenn Alston
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    Default Upgrade from Version 4.5 to 5.0

    Does anyone remember Alpha Five's promise or committment upgrade cost for version 5.0 for existing customers who purchased the upgrade from version 4.0 to 4.5?

  2. #2
    "Certified" Alphaholic forskare's Avatar
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    Ken Nordin
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    Default RE: Upgrade from Version 4.5 to 5.0

    Yes,

    The upgrade cost is 100% applicable to v5. You will need to complete a rebate form. It only takes a couple of weeks for the rebate.

    kenn

  3. #3
    Tim McDonnell
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    Default RE: Upgrade from Version 4.5 to 5.0

    Hello,

    I don't log on too often these days. I began with Alpha in 1992 and progressed to version 4.5. I just called an 800 number to "get" my copy of 5.0 and got the real story...

    I loathed version 4.0 and all it's difficult Alpha Windows predecessors, because the simple DOS power was scattered to the wind. (ie difficult if not impossible to re-create)
    The Alpha marketing postcards suggested that if I bought 4.5 and waited patiently, that I would *automatically* be sent 5.0 when it was finally released. I can do that.

    Now I find that my "reward" for waiting is to send $300 and get back a rebate of the 4.5 purchase? That's not what I recall! If there was any inkling of additional cost or rebate HASSLE, I would not have bothered with buying 4.5.

    Any second now, someone will point out that I have the "facts" all wrong and this was never the implication. Well, excuse me for saying so, but it absolutely WAS the implication. The price increase is a clever CYA maneuver.

    As much as I dislike the thought of moving to Access, I have a bad taste in my mouth about this surprise treatment.

    Marketing 101: Don't sweat the streaming videos too hard and go back to fundamentals like customer loyalty. I just had to let someone know that I feel violated by all this.

    Tim

  4. #4
    VAR davej's Avatar
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    Default RE: Upgrade from Version 4.5 to 5.0

    Glenn,

    The 'committment', as you phrase it was that the price of V4.5 would fully apply to the purchase of V5. The purchase of V5 was not discounted; you pay the full price, fill out a rebate form and eventually (some number of weeks) get a rebate check for the price of V4.5. Convoluted, but it works.

    Dave

  5. #5
    Tim McDonnell
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    Default RE: Upgrade from Version 4.5 to 5.0

    Dave,

    Thanks for the reply.

    This much is true about the Alpha 4.5 pitch:

    1) You are giving us $150, investing your faith that ultimately 5.0 will be MUCH better.

    Here is the key information that was missing from the original Alpha pitch:

    2) When this program is eventually released, it will cost $300 so you will need to shell out $150 more.

    I wouldn't have bought 4.5 if this had been stated. Now I'm being asked to have another leap of faith, which is REAL difficult given the track record of the Windows releases.

    Tim

  6. #6
    Claudio Pilustrelli
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    Default RE: Upgrade from Version 4.5 to 5.0

    Regardless of the original offer and the rebate issue, I think that $220 is a very high price for just an update. Version 5.0 could be full of new feature but also lots of other companies releases upgrades softaware full of features and they do not charge as much for an aupgrade.

    Even if we accept that price as good, why do we have to go trough that burocratic thing of mailing a cupon just for getting a refund. I do not get it... if our records show that we payed the $75 upgrade to 4.5 we should get that refund automaticaly on purchase of the 5.0 upgrade.

    Hope somebody else shares my view point.

  7. #7
    "Certified" Alphaholic forskare's Avatar
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    Default RE: Upgrade from Version 4.5 to 5.0

    Claudio,

    Why, I don't know. I do know that when I sent in my rebate, I asked that my cc be credited and they did. It took about 2 weeks.

    Is the price too high? Some say "Yes" and some say "No". I also know that Alpha took a verbal beating over the price issue and lowered it to what it is now.

    I have v5 and like it alot. I'm not an expert in Xbasic so the enhancements are a real blessing for me.

    kenn

  8. #8
    Tim McDonnell
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    Default RE: Upgrade from Version 4.5 to 5.0

    Claudio,

    Thanks for sharing your similar dissatisfaction, wonder how many other potential customers were caught off guard.

    This "upgrade" hasn't been handled well, which is why I'm very reluctant to spend any more money or time with Alpha.

    To compound this PR problem further, WE have to do a rebate run-around to get our own money back?

    There's some kind of disconnect between Alpha management & marketing as to what some customers are willing to put up with.

    I work for a software company, so I understand the pains, excuses and rationale it requires to get a release out.

    BUT... We've NEVER made any of our customers wait anywhere near this long and then further insult them by:

    1) asking for a signifigant outlay based on a price increase not declared at the onset.

    2) putting them through rebate hoops on top of that.

    It's just amazing that this is viewed as acceptable...

    Tim

  9. #9
    "Certified" Alphaholic
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    Default RE: Upgrade from Version 4.5 to 5.0

    Alpha stated that the cost of upgrading to Version 4.5 would be credited against the price of Version 5. There was never an implication that V5 would be free if you upgraded to V4.5 nor was there an implied price of V5.

  10. #10
    "Certified" Alphaholic forskare's Avatar
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    Default RE: Upgrade from Version 4.5 to 5.0

    Tim,

    This subject has been discussed with vehement passion. I thought it had been put to rest. If you or any others want to read it, try searching this message board as well as the v4 message board. You'll find enough to keep you reading for hours.

    kenn

  11. #11
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    Default RE: Upgrade from Version 4.5 to 5.0

    Ignoring the rebate issue and addressing the price, I can't say that I'm thrilled about the price of the update, but Alpha has to make its own decisions about how to price its products to survive in a business that's seen the demise of many, often larger, competetors.

    In the end, you have to weigh the benefits you believe you'll receive against the cost you didn't anticipate and do what's right for you. I know the things I haven't liked about previous versions of Alpha Five. They've caused me to look at several alternative products over the past several years. Even at its new price, none of the alternatives offer the price/benefit ratio that Alpha does for my purposes. The nice folks at Alpha also seem to have addressed many of my concerns in version 5.

    I delayed hardware upgrades and ordered version 5.

  12. #12
    VAR davej's Avatar
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    Default RE: Upgrade from Version 4.5 to 5.0

    I guess that when you get an outstanding database development product, with what I consider the best user-supported message board/help system, AND the ear of the owners of the company, you have to bitch about something.

    Try posting a message with a question to an Access board hosted by MS (if there is one) and see how many helpful replies you get from BG. How about a suggestion that a user makes that ends up in an update (patch) to the product?

    I don't like spending money needlessly any more than anyone else, but I would rather spend my money for a product from a company that supports and listens to me than for a product from a company that disappears in the dust. Who remembers dBase and Foxpro? Yeah, I know they still exist. Microsoft owns one, but I forget who owns the other. I've tried using both in their heyday, and Alpha software, in ANY of it's versions, beats the hell out of any of the others.

    As I said in a previous post, based on Selwyn's participation in this message board, I get the feeling he is working for us! I think in reality he is.

    Just my thought and opinions.

    Dave

  13. #13
    Tim McDonnell
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    Default RE: Upgrade from Version 4.5 to 5.0

    Ken,

    Thanks for your comments. 5.0 must be a breath of fresh air after all the flawed predecessors.

    I'm sure there's a backlog of messages like mine because the issues are valid.

    Since I didn't automatically get my copy of 5.0, I only now started investigating the whole story. I called the 800 number this morning and the price and rebate issues still absolutely astound me.

    Tim

  14. #14
    Tim McDonnell
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    Default RE: Upgrade from Version 4.5 to 5.0

    Paul,

    Thanks for your comments.

    Putting the marketing betrayal issue aside, what were the signifigant strides created with V5.0 you were waiting for?

    Sell me! Because Alpha isn't doing the job properly.

    Tim

  15. #15
    Tim McDonnell
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    Default RE: Upgrade from Version 4.5 to 5.0

    Ohlen,

    How can we not take that at face value? "Give us your money now for 4.5 to aid the product development and your reward will be to receive 5.0 when it's released.

    No implied price for 5.0? Not even a projection? How utterly convenient.

    Would you buy anything else in this blind trusting way?
    I did. Now they want to "change the deal".

    Tim

  16. #16
    Tim McDonnell
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    Default RE: Upgrade from Version 4.5 to 5.0

    Dave,

    I will bitch until I get satisfaction. I loved Alpha (1992-?) until the shoddy Windows releases were foisted upon a poor unsuspecting faithful customer base. Were you there? Do you remember how awful it was?

    Because the Alpha discussion boards have been strong for many years, many users seem to have forgiven this "violation of trust" as I see it. ($$$/rebate debacle)

    Alpha users suffered together through weak Windows program releases not unlike fellow coal miners, urging each other not to give up with tips, tricks, work-arounds, patches and other suggestions to make it all work somehow. That's the power in the community.

    I'm also a moderator on a website for our independent reps and interface with real customers every day. It gives me great satisfaction to see great ideas implimented and become part of our software products. Is this the norm in the industry? No, of course it's not.

    I'm grateful for the companies like Sonic Foundry, for example, who manage to keep pace with trends, deliver useful innovative software and still treat their users right.

    By that I mean: fair pricing and not waiting through 2 recessions to get the opportunity to buy an upgrade at *surprise* greater cost.

    As the Turko clown says: "That ain't right".

    I hope the eyes and ears of Alpha are tuned in right now.

    Thanks again for your input, Tim


  17. #17
    "Certified" Alphaholic
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    Default RE: Upgrade from Version 4.5 to 5.0

    Tim,
    I feel I got a good deal with V4.5 upgrade. I would have been happy to stay with that. It's true that I was a little disappointed when I found the price of V5, but I don't think I was lied to or baited to buy it.

    Each of us buys almost everything in this blind trusting way. We rely on the maker/marketer to tell us the truth and buy based on their descriptions. When V5 came out, I had a choice = buy or not buy. I also had a 30 day trial. During that time I could get my money back. Few products we buy carry that kind of warranty.

    Also, it's not fair to call this an upgrade. It's really a whole new program.

  18. #18
    Alpha Software Employee Richard Rabins's Avatar
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    Default RE: Upgrade from Version 4.5 to 5.0

    Tim

    I have read your comments and we take them seriously

    I would be happy to discuss your concerns if you email me at richard@alphasoftware.com with a phone number where I can contact you.

    Word of mouth and customer satisfaction are important to us and I would like to explore with you your thoughts in more detail.

    An important component of our new sales are generated through word of mouth and, for the most part, the feedback we receive is that we treat our customers fairly.

    I look forward to hearing from you

    Sincerely
    Richard Rabins
    richard@alphasoftware.com

  19. #19
    Alpha Software Employee Richard Rabins's Avatar
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    Default RE: Upgrade from Version 4.5 to 5.0

    thanks for the message

    A few comments

    1. version 5 is a major new product, that was three years in the making. See http://www.imakenews.com/alphasoftware/index000017551.cfm

    2. The rebate process was designed as a security measure to provide us with opportunity to ensure that people who are due rebates are receiving them and to filter out rebates that are not "legitimate". Also we are turning around rebates much more rapidly than indicated on the rebate form.

    In summary, we have worked hard to bring you a highly productive product in version 5 and trust that the productivity that you can achieve with version 5, will more than easily justify the cost. At the end of the day you need to make an informed business decision as to what works for you.

    If you would like to discuss further, please email me at richard@alphasoftware.com and I will call you.

    Thanks for your time
    Richard Rabins
    Alpha Software

  20. #20
    Tim McDonnell
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    Default RE: Upgrade from Version 4.5 to 5.0

    We also offer 30 day refund policy on our software programs that cost thousands of dollars.

    After several years of very hard work we offered our '5.0' (coincidence) for sale this past Spring. It was a brand new browser-based version of information retrieval. A "totally new" program in much the same way.

    Guess what? SAME PRICE as the lesser 4.4 product it replaced.

    These are all marketing decisions, my friends.

  21. #21
    Tim McDonnell
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    Default RE: Upgrade from Version 4.5 to 5.0

    Richard,

    Thanks for making yourself available. I'd like to discuss this issue soon. I'll send you my number shortly...

    In advance of that discussion I offer these comments:

    We also offer 30 day refund policy on our software programs that cost thousands of dollars.

    After several years of very hard work we offered our '5.0' (coincidence) for sale this past Spring. It was a brand new browser-based version of information retrieval. A "totally new" program in much the same way Alpha is positioning Alpha 5 now.

    Guess what? SAME PRICE purchase as the lesser 4.4 product it replaced. Same promise of improved productivity. Are you still current with 4.4 and want to upgrade to 5.0 DVD? That'll be $100. I know the rationalizations quite well.

    Why bother with rebates? The explanation doesn't wash. Why not use customer purchase history? Here's a mailer with your price on it, based on your past purchases. Simple.

    Rebates are generally employed because statistically a good number of people don't bother to follow through on them, netting additional income for the company involved.

    Smart mailers make far more sense in trying to reach people like me. Instead I get phone calls from somebody who has no idea what I bought before or any sense why I might put up a fuss with this treatment as well as price & rebate resistance.

    This could've been handled so much better, given how much time Alpha had to think about it. I always thought Alpha was a bargain until this.

    Tim

  22. #22
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    Default RE: Upgrade from Version 4.5 to 5.0

    I guess it was my tour of other products (Access, FileMaker Pro, Approach) that made me appreciate Alpha as much as anything else. Even version 4.5 allows me more flexibility without programming than any of the alternatives.

    Each one of the other programs has features that I wish Alpha had. Ultimately, Alpha has more that I wish they had. I can simply do more with Alpha in less time than with the alternatives.

    I don't know that there is any one new feature or set of enhancements in version five that make it a compelling upgrade for me. Cost and more demanding hardware requirements slowed my decision to upgrade. There have been many improvements in so many areas that all together, I decided the upgrade was worthwhile.

    Another thing that made the decision easier is that Alpha staff has been responsive to concerns expressed on these forums by many different users. As they were trying to get version five out the door, it wasn't unusual to find responses on these froums from the Rabins and other Alphasoftware staff at all hours of the day and all days of the week. Because of their participation, they know the concerns of their customers and have been very responsive. I haven't seen that level of participation in forums run by other software companies, but perhaps I just don't know where to look.

    In the end, if I look at my software collection, I'm not really all that picky about what word processor I use or what spreadsheet. The major players are all capable enough that it doesn't really make a difference. I am picky about the database I use. I want Alphasoftware to thrive and prosper so they will continue to support and enhance their products.

  23. #23
    Tim McDonnell
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    Default RE: Upgrade from Version 4.5 to 5.0

    Paul,

    Thanks for your comments once again. What you say parallels much of my experience and preferences.

    As I have said before, I began working with Alpha in 1992, buying the newsletters, books, etc. Before too long I was talking to Sherry Martin, learning about field statistics to create a business app that is still running today.

    Gee, could we have that app in a Windows format? Probably not in this lifetime. Alpha's first foray into Windows was an unguided missile. Shrug. I put plans on hold and waited.

    Version 4.0 started to get better in several areas but was so bug laden I couldn't trust it or build any desire to work with it much. I put plans on hold and waited.

    Version 4.5: We heard you and fixed everything! If you take the leap with us (spend more money w/o proof of desired outcome for me) we'll get you into 5.0 when it comes out. (take that msg any way you interpret it)

    Crossroads: Do I throw more money at something that doesn't seem to be hit the mark or is as easy to use as it ought to be? (frustration index)

    So I relent and buy into it. The bugs seem to be nearly all gone. But it's still not as easy or flexible as I think it ought to be. (damn DOS simplicity memories) So my plans are still mostly on hold...

    And that brings us to right now. I have no problem spending $100 for Sonic Foundry upgrades or even $300 for full programs because they have demonstrated value to me. Their support is excellent, they know how to market to me.

    My frustrating experience with Alpha makes it real hard to part with additional money for something with this history.

    Frankly, I've missed 2-3 years of valuable discussions on the forums because I was so unhappy with the program(s). Perhaps these discussions would've helped me see more value in 5.0, but why spend precious time on something that has yet to prove itself worthy of your attention?

    Richard Rabin has kindly acknowleged my messages and will be calling to put me straight. If I can get 5.0 at a fair price, I will share my comments with the forum, one way or the other.

    Thanks to everyone.... Tim

  24. #24
    John Pintado
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    Default RE: Upgrade from Version 4.5 to 5.0

    Dave,

    Microsoft does have a board where questions can be posted and IT IS TERRIBLE. You can occasionally get some help but it is really pathetic compared to this board.

    I'm not saying Microsoft Access is a terrible program...but the Microsoft support boards leave alot to be desired.

    As to the main issue...I always understood that the price of version 4.5 would be credited to the version 5 price...not that you would get a free version 5.

    Like many people, I was shocked at the new prices. I do expect them to come down in the future. They are just too far above the market to be sustainable, in my humble opinion. But, I have been wrong before...

    John

  25. #25
    Edward F. Schulz
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    Default RE: Upgrade from Version 4.5 to 5.0

    FWIW, I do Claudio

  26. #26
    Tim McDonnell
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    Default RE: Upgrade from Version 4.5 to 5.0

    Everyone,

    I'm being given the opportunity to evaluate 5.0 and will refrain from further comment until having done so.

    Thanks for the sincere interest.

    Tim

  27. #27
    Don Bartlett
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    Default RE: Upgrade from Version 4.5 to 5.0

    In my humble opinion, this whole price / upgrade procedure discussion has been beaten to death. At one point I beleive someone labeled people who persist in posting endless comments as 'horse floggers' and I think the name fits.

    Each user has to make up their own mind whether to upgrade or not. Is anything being accomplished by going over and over the same points?

    The bottom line is that Alpha is in business to make money (obviously), no one is being forced to upgrade; if 4.5 does the job, continue to use it and be happy, if you want / need the improved features of ver. 5 then you know the drill.

    Bottom line - 'there is no free lunch!'

  28. #28
    Tim McDonnell
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    Default RE: Upgrade from Version 4.5 to 5.0

    Of course there's no free lunch. But the point here is that by the time the entree was ready, it cost more than when I agreed to get in line.

    Soon I will know if 5.0 is worth crowing about...

  29. #29
    "Certified" Alphaholic forskare's Avatar
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    Default RE: Upgrade from Version 4.5 to 5.0

    We WILL expect to hear you crow!!

    kenn

  30. #30
    Volunteer Moderator Peter.Greulich's Avatar
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    Default RE: Upgrade from Version 4.5 to 5.0

    I look at the whole thing a little more philosophically, I guess. What is it that you want? I don't mean in a perfect word/idealistic sense, but rather in a practical sense. Access is king, so why not go with that? If you are not satisfied w. Access, perhaps there is some competing product that fits the bill? What is it? If that “other” brand is the product that is so great, or at least better than Alpha, why not use that and let the rest of us know? Otherwise, the implication would appear to be, that Alpha is, in fact, superior to the others, even though it may be flawed in some respects (including the price, perhaps). Without meaning to insult you, it seems to me (philosophically speaking, that is), put up or shut up. In other words, at this very moment, you have certain database choices that you, me or anyone can make. Presumably, if we choose Alpha, it is because we feel it offers a superior value to the competitor’s products. If it is inferior (by virtue of price or otherwise), buy the other product.

    Peter

    damn DOS simplicity memories

    Again, no offense meant, but what did you find so wonderful about DOS? Sure Alpha Four was simpler, as was DOS. But I for one would dread having to back to the “unlimited” limitation of DOS – including Alpha Four. A5v5 may not be able to do everything in the digital realm, but it is getting damn close.

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