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Thread: Pricing 2

  1. #1
    Donald Montaine
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    Default Pricing 2

    I will use alpha 5 for a web site that I will be hosting and maintaining that is data driven. The cost of the application server is in the ballpark for this usage, especially if a reasonable ISP is found to host sites. I use myhosting.com for my MSSql work so about $25/mo is the break even point.

    I will not be developing a planned product for distribution because of the pricing and licensing structure. I too was hoping for a 'runtime' version for sites where constant maintenance was not an issue (ie: no data definition changes after deployment). I had been hoping to be able to sell a product with a runtime that would allow whatever level of concurrent access I had paid for (ie: 5 users, web or networked).

  2. #2
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    Default RE: Pricing 2

    Hi Donald,

    I think your situation deserves support.

    But there is also a marketing side to it.
    If Alpha would be able to get the WAS license into the Runtime fee they would be able to draw the complete market to them. That could also be a consideration for them to do it.

    Regards,

    Marcel

  3. #3
    "Certified" Alphaholic glenschild's Avatar
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    Default RE: Pricing 2

    Marcel,

    I sort of get your argument but with some added comments.

    With the current unlimited runtime options available, this enables the developer to deploy an application across a network allowing access to the app for anyone on that network. I can see the correlation for a company to use it's intranet and WAS thus enabling anyone within the intranet access for a web interface.

    However, that same WAS could then be used on the web giving access to anyone with an internet connection. Is that not a totally different ball game?

    Maybe I am totally off base here but I see it as 2 totally different scenarios, the first of which correlates to an unlimited runtime (without the overhead of installing the software on each workstation) and the second being a whole different ball game.

    Does this make sense? It does to me but then again I am no expert?

    Just my thoughts from across the water, the English Channel that is :-)

    Regards

    Glen

  4. #4
    Chris Cooper
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    Default RE: Pricing 2

    I have been reading all the "pricing" threads and am now more confused than before! If I have a WAS licence (which I do!) and install that licence on my server with A5V6, I can run mulitiple applications e.g. I have 5 customers all with their applications hosted on my server, I only need one WAS and one licence to run this?

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    "Certified" Alphaholic glenschild's Avatar
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    Default RE: Pricing 2

    Chris

    That is correct, the license is per server.

    Regards

    Glen

  6. #6
    Chris Cooper
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    Default RE: Pricing 2

    Thanks Glen because that is what I intend for the customers who wish to access their data online.

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    Default RE: Pricing 2

    Hi Glen,

    Yes, that is true. It is a different ballgame.
    Though I do see similarities with the Runtime issue.

    With the Runtime strategy, one could develop an application which costs $10.000 development costs.
    Lets assume there are $2.000 license costs involved totalling it to $12.000. You can earn that back by selling 10 products for $1200 each or you can choose to sell 1000 for $12 each. That's all fine.

    Now the WAS comes. Suppose you would like to upgrade your standard software with internet capabilities.
    You would need a WAS for every server, thus every customer, thus every product (in this example).
    The product priced at $1200 would be raised to $1899 (which is 158%) and the product priced at $12 would be raised to $711 (which is a humble 5925%).

    Needless to say you can not implement the new features in the $12 product. You can in the $1200 product, if the customer will accept 158% price raise which you could be able to communicate having then internet capabilities.
    But that will not be possible for the $12 product.
    Of course the price of $12 is ridiculous, I know that, but I made at black and white to show the difference.
    And it is not only a price issue either.

    When I sell of shelf in a store, I could not create a ready-to-use product because the customer would still need a license for the was.

    So there is more then one issue here that worries me.

    Greetings,

    Marcel

  8. #8
    "Certified" Alphaholic glenschild's Avatar
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    Default RE: Pricing 2

    Marcel

    I suppose another question would be, just who would benefit from having an application internet based as opposed to extranet based? An instant reaction would be the larger corporate client who arguably would treat a $699 additional investment as acceptable for the size of the project.

    But, I then consider my own scenario where I do not market a product to sell off the shelf but use the system for the work that I do for clients. In my situation I can see a desired route towards going internet based but this would only be for one client initially and the only way this would work would be if I hosted the WAS myself. That would then give me the ability to add other clients to the same server, ultimately cutting the cost but in the first instance I would have to pass on the cost to this client and before doing so would have to convince them that the investment would be worth it.

    This whole area provides a massive expansion in potential revenue streams and I guess as with any "new" initiatives will take time to comprehend.

    One thing I do know is that one client I work with created a web based service for it's clients which was database driven. That service cost them a serious amount of money to create. The backend database functionality costings were built into the overall spend and a cost of £699 would have easily been incorporated into that!

    Regards

    Glen

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    Default RE: Pricing 2

    Glen,

    Your last point resonates with me.

    What's missing from these 'pricing' threads is any discussion of the cost to deploy equivalent functionality with other vendor's products. Instead of focusing on the cost to deploy an internet based database solution with WAS, why isn't anyone considering the savings that WAS seems to offer? Isn't this what will drive the pricing in the marketplace in the end? If the equivalent functionality is available through other products at lower cost won't that be reflected in reduced sales at Alpha?

    I don't consider myself knowledgeable in the web app development business, but it seems to me that if the pricing structure is lower (significantly lower?) than the cost of competitive products (singly, or in combination) then why shouldn't Alpha derive a return on its investment? If the cost to deploy is more than the benefits to be derived from deployment no one needs to purchase, right? If the cost to deploy is significantly below the current marketplace offerings, why would anyone think Alpha would be interested in lowering it further?

    -- tom

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    Default RE: Pricing 2

    Hi Glen,

    Hmm. That is right. I do see the point you are trying to make. And of course there is still the question whether web based functionality would mean something in low-priced of shelf applications.
    But that choice now needn't be made anymore because it is already made.

    Of course when you create large applications for companies with internet capability they can enroll the $699 easily into their budget. I fully see that.

    My worries are not for those clients.
    My worries are for those who have a small budget and buy my product of shelf against low cost.

    But indeed, you are right, would you use the Webfunctionality there ?
    Maybe, maybe not. I don't know yet.
    Question now is whether it is worth while to seriously do research for the answer to that question if you know upfront that it will be to expensive to implement ?

    There are more points of view to this then mine only though, don't think I don't realize that.

    Still, it is a good discussion.

    Regards,

    Marcel

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    Default RE: Pricing 2

    Tom,

    As always sharp deduction.

    If Alpha can develop and market a product that is better or at least as good as the competitions product AND cheaper, they did a better job then the competition.
    (If that is a good summary of your statement).

    Yes. That is to the point and correct.

    The product can be better then competition, lower priced, and still unavailable to a section of the market.
    You can say "Well, not everybody can buy a mercedes either". That's true, but you could also seek for a solution where the technology would become available to that section of the market as well, thus increasing sales possibilities, maybe with some limits implemented.

    If competition does not do that, the Alpha product will not only be better and lower priced but also available to the whole market which would improve sales changes above those of the competition. That is in my humble opinion it would.

    Of course the decisions are not with me but to be made by the Alpha Board, but I think worries can be ventilated.

    Kind regards,

    Marcel


  12. #12
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    Default RE: Pricing 2

    Hi Marcel,

    Utility computing and ASP (application service providers) is becoming more and more of a reality, design an application for the web and host your self in-house or (COLO) and charge a monthly fee 'best return" to use the Application.

    19.95 A month X 35 customers 698.25 a month, the potential for revenue is enormous in the example above
    you make the 699.00 back in one month, of course you would have to use different figures to calculate what your monthly service would be.

    Just my 2 cents
    Ray

  13. #13
    Van Jones
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    Default RE: Pricing 2

    Just an FYI and slightly off subject, Alpha no longer lets you purchase an unlimited runtime. It is now a custom runtime and pricing will be calculated upon request.

  14. #14
    "Certified" Alphaholic DaveM's Avatar
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    Default RE: Pricing 2

    I use IPowerWeb and hope they will get setup for alpha if any is needed. 125 a year is cheap i think and that includes my domain name.

    Dave

  15. #15
    Van Jones
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    Default RE: Pricing 2

    I thought the point of using Alpha products was to make our lives and the lives of our customers easier. WAS, based upon function, has the ability to do that for almost any of our customers. But, if the license model doesn't allow us to use the product in the best way we see fit for our customer, then it won't sell and Alpha has failed those potential customers.

    For example, my customers are the 5-20 user network at a church or other non-profit. They won't be able to justify a $699 increase to my regular app price. Then why not move to an ASP model and host the apps myself? Because I don't think that is best for my customers and I don't think I should be forced into something that I don't think is best for them. And why make it more difficult than it has to be just because of a decision on the licensing.

  16. #16
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    Default RE: Pricing 2

    I wasn't quite sure which message to attach this to so I stuck it on the end. Sorry if it doesn't "flow" well.

    For those that want to deploy a cheap web app, are you really sure that it is necessary for every customer to have the app on their own server??

    Most people who use PayPal have not installed the PayPal application on their own server. In fact, when you click the Pay Now icon for PayPal it takes you to the PAYPAL server. At that point you are actually on a different server than you started from until you finish making a payment and then it sends you back (so to speak) to the original server. Most users aren't even aware that this is happening.

    I plan to make an app available to all of my Trak-It SP users (an application designed specifically for companies that install real estate sign posts) that will be hosted on one server but used by anyone who signs up for the service. If they have an existing web site, they can simply add an icon to that site that will take their customers to the Trak-It SP site.

    One server, one WAS, many users.

    Each user will have their own copy of the app because the data and lookup tables will all be unique. Organizing it so every company's data is stored in one copy of the application might be possible but would be a nightmare to create and to support. (Let's see, I have 50 companies and I need to delete the existing status info for company #5, pack the data, and append their new status. Hmmm, could be some problems here.)

    Of course, in this case, as in any other hosted solution, there will be a small monthly charge but that's usually easier for them to swallow than a large initial fee plus the cost and hassle of owning and maintaining their own server. And, by the time I actually do have 50 users, I will probably need to have a second server - gee, there's a problem I can live with.

    Let's assume they save only one hour per day (probably more like 4) of data input time at $5/hour by using this service. (Good luck getting $5/hr. help.) That means that even if they pay what I would expect to be a terribly high price of $100/month they would still break even - $5/day times 20 work days in a 4 week period equals $100. On the other hand, if you are deploying an app that doesn't save your customer time or have some other real value, then are sure it's worth doing?

    If it's not possible to deploy an app this way, somebody please tell me NOW.

    Cal Locklin
    www.aimsdc.net

  17. #17
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    Default RE: Pricing 2

    Cal,

    Depending on how your apps are setup I'm thinking this approach may require the Apache Add-on but I'm curious to hear from Alpha on this as I'm having the same thoughts. If each one will reside at a unique domain I'm almost certain of it.

    One thing for everyone to consider...
    If your client needs the web app to connect directly to data sitting on a fileserver at their location... a shared remote server does not sound like a viable option.

    Hosting an interactive membership list for an organization you might have developed a website for is something that could be hosted on a remote shared WAS server located at an ISP somewhere as I see it, as long as they do not need to access the same data with a desktop app.

    As this discussion goes on I think it's important to consider whether the client will need direct access to the data locally, as in online orders getting written directly to the database they work in daily.

    I have a need for both scenarios and I'm trying to sort all of this out myself.

    Kevin Anderson

  18. #18
    Member Mario Prieto's Avatar
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    Default RE: Pricing 2

    I think Visual FoxPro started to look a lot better!!



    The Mexican

  19. #19
    Donald Montaine
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    Default RE: Pricing 2

    Ok -

    New Microsoft Visual Web Developer Express is either going to be free or in the $100 range (they haven't decided yet).

    New Microsoft SQL server express for databases up to 4GB is free.

    IIS in XP professional which allows up to 10 connections is included in the OS or I can host at myhosting.com for $25 / month

    ---

    Front Page is $200, Code Charge is $500.

    ---

    To me the thing Alpha had going for it was the database front end in addition to my code. The other development tools like WinDev and Clarion don't provide that Access/Paradox type functionality (they also don't have runtime charges) - so basicly I was willing to pay for the runtime license in order to not have to code that generic browse/query functionality.

    I saw WAS as an extension of that -- allow my users remote access to their data -- and I was prepared to pay the equivalent of another runtime to be able to distribute that functionality. But at $699/server it's not going to work for my apps.

  20. #20
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    Default RE: Pricing 2

    Here it is for me.

    I have and have had customers that wish to connect to their work computer(server) by way of the internet and I have always let them do any connection thaey could rig up on their own. They have managed on occasion with Nortons and others to get there.

    I looked at was as a possible solution to this issue. They could use was and look at or add to their inventory while still at the auction or sell a car in someone's home and record directly or look up what they need in the server.

    Dealers are notoriously stingy about computer related stuff and any edge you can get is good. Could I provide that service as a standard, it could boost sales tremendously and keep current customers happy.

    At 699 per customer - that will not work and Dealers will not let data reside anywhere they cannot pick it up and run. That gives me no reason to have my own server for all to share.

    I do have other plans that still may utilize 1 copy of the software. we will see.

    Dave

  21. #21
    Alpha Software Employee Richard Rabins's Avatar
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    Default RE: Pricing 2

    Tom does highlight an important point here which can be best illustrated by an example:

    scenario A (alpha not in the picture)

    Client goes to consultant with a project to build a database driven web site.

    The site is built using the traditional approach which has significant system integration and programing.

    Specifically you would need some kind of Back End database engine (MySql commercial license, SQL Server, Oracle etc - not free), you would need a Web server, and then most importantly, you would to start programming in something like php or .asp.

    As you know, programming in these low level languages is very time consuming and therefore extremely expensive for the client. For example, the .asp code to show page navigation on a web data display grid is in the order of 300 lines of code according to www.asp101.com. (By way of contrast, v6 has a page navigation genie that does this in 2 clicks and you get a whole set of stylized options). The result is that the client ends up being quoted a high price for the project, and in turn this means that there is a good chance the project will never be signed off on because of sticker shock.

    Typically for fairly robust web database projects, pricing could easily be in the tens of thousands of dollars.

    Scenario B (Alpha V6 is in the picture)

    In this scenario it is worth bearing in mind that two things are now fundamnetally different;

    1 No or minimal system integration work is required (V6 has a built in Web Server, it has a built in backend database, and it has a built in Rapid Webb App Development tool (the web component builders).

    2 Because of the web component builders, NO or MUCH MUCH less programing work is required

    The net result is consultants can get database web projects buit in much less time and at much less cost (even including the cost of the web app server license).

    The overall result is that the likelyhood of generating customer sticker shock is greatly reduced because you can quote a lower overall price, and therefore more projects are likely to be greenlighted




  22. #22
    Former Alpha Employee JerryBrightbill's Avatar
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    Default RE: Pricing 2

    Van

    If $699 makes your application too expensive, your basic application must be very inexpensive. Compared to a 5 user runtime at $799, WAS is an inexpensive alternative.

    Jerry

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    Default RE: Pricing 2

    5 user runtime can be used over and over for many customers at different sites. was cannot!

  24. #24
    Alpha Software Employee Selwyn Rabins's Avatar
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    Default RE: Pricing 2

    you can absolutely do this with the a5 web app server. it doesn't sound like a heavy load and it seems unlikely that you would need to use multiple servers with load balancing (and hence would not need the appache mod).

  25. #25
    Alpha Software Employee Selwyn Rabins's Avatar
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    Default RE: Pricing 2

    can you give me an example an any other server based product that allows the customer to make an unlimited number of redistributions of that product?

    we can't. take 'coldfusion' from macromedia as the closest analogy. you can't make an unlimited number of redistributions. you need a copy for each server.

    it is completely unrealistic to think that you could purchase the webapp server from alpha and then turn around and redistribute that to an unlimited number of your customers.

  26. #26
    "Certified" Alphaholic DaveM's Avatar
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    Default RE: Pricing 2

    Selwyn,

    Before I take up that search, Jerry was trying to compare apples and oranges.

    If I have to do that search? Who then would be wrong? Who would lose? When I challenge a customer in my business to find a less expensive product(car). They do! It may not run but they found it. They bought it and I lose.

    Dave

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    Default RE: Pricing 2

    Selwyn,

    Technically spoken: could a version of WAS be created that has limited features as oposed to a full WAS version regarding for instance the number of apps it can run ?

    I mean, would it technically be possible to create a "light" version that COULD be distributed as part of a Runtime app ?

    Greetings,

    Marcel

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    Default RE: Pricing 2

    Dave,

    Without comparing the products in ANY way, thus also without saying it is the same kind of product etc. I found that there ARE companies who see it differently, as Dave already warned for in his posting above.

    Here is what QEWS says:

    "The QEWS developer kit (SDK) contains all you need to get started with developing embedded web applications. It contains the QEWS core server engine, the QEWS toolkit, technical documentation, QEWS host-based development tools, and sample applications. You must purchase one Developer Kit license for each developer that will be using QEWS."

    Regards,

    Marcel

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    Default RE: Pricing 2

    I personally do not see how that could be done. If we limit the features of WAS it in turn will limit what we can or cannot do with our applications. I feel that this would defeat the purpose.

    I can understand feelings of having to add such a cost to an application, however, web servers are NOT cheap. Most people use 'hosting' companies for this very reason. The hosting services are the ones paying for the licenses and since they have a substantial customer base, we do not see the high expense of these licenses. When you look at the long term cost of a hosting service and compare it to the control you get with your own server, WAS is extremely reasonable.

    A lot of posts speak of $50 store shelf applications. If we have an application that is as inexpensive as that, and we wanted to offer the features of WAS to it, we should be offering a 'shared' environment for these clients if they so choose.

    Or we can go with the alternative ... locate a hosting service for the client to pay a monthly fee at, find out what databases they support, create that db format, write the code to manipulate that data, etc, etc. For me this is not a feasible alternative.

    I worked with an extremely large hosting company for four years and the costs that they absorb for the web servers is phenominal. WAS is an extremely inexpensive means for us to offer what I consider a far better service to our clients.

    Just my humble opinion.

  30. #30
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    Default RE: Pricing 2

    This discussion was held some time ago about the pricing of WAS. At that point there were proposed levels of pricing. The consensis was a single realistic price with an unlimited license was the best deal.

    Someone will always want it cheaper. The real question is what is fair value. In the overall cost of creating, distributing, and maintaining computer systems today the price is very realistic. It is probably a minor percentage of the overall cost for most systems.

    If your only criteria is cost, then stick to shareware, freeware and similar programs. I use some of them myself, but when I need something that has support, has a user base to help, and can handle real projects, I buy what I need. For example, I use a $39.95 graphics program for viewing pictures and some simple editing. But I also use Photoshop, which is certainly not a $39 program. Some people will only need the features of the $39 program and that is fine. But I don't expect Adobe to match the price.

    If we could get everything for nothing, that would be the best deal - for us. But the company that creates the product, whether it is you Mister Developer or Alpha Software has to make a profit to survive. I think the cost of WAS is easy to justify.

    Jerry

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