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Thread: Pricing 2

  1. #31
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    Default RE: Pricing 2

    In previous versions of Alpha, the only revenue source for Alpha was the developer. If you bought the unlimited runtime, you could have a million customers or you could have 1. The impact on Alpha was the same.

    Obviously Alpha wants to change this by charging us a "fee" per customer. Even the unlimited runtime is gone. I'm not passing judgement on this, just stating a fact. If you as a developer have lots and lots of customers, Apha wants a piece of the pie.

    The part I question is the amount of the fee. $695 is simply too much for most of us to pass on to customers. (Yes, I know the original plan was much worse). There are certainly some clients that will be able to pay this fee, but not the small clients. Not the ones that have been the traditional Alpha clients. And no, I don't want to run my own Web Host.

    I have a small database on the web (simply for fun) that I had a buddy code for me in PHP and MYSQL. It's a hobby thing, I had hoped to switch it to Alpha. Can't do it now.
    The apps the one guy was selling for $49 or$99?, can't make those web apps.

    But if the price for a WAS license was $50 or $100, Alpha could still get a fee for every site developed. Hobby type websites and small app websites could still use it. That $49 app? Web enabled version available for $149 !!

    I think that Alpha thinks the MYSQL people are going to gobble this up. I think they will NOT, and the traditional Alpha small developer will get squeezed out.

  2. #32
    Alpha Software Employee Selwyn Rabins's Avatar
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    Default RE: Pricing 2

    tom says:

    "Obviously Alpha wants to change this by charging us a "fee" per customer. Even the unlimited runtime is gone. I'm not passing judgement on this, just stating a fact. If you as a developer have lots and lots of customers, Apha wants a piece of the pie. "


    actually this is not the case at all. tom is simply wrong. for traditional desktop applications, if you purchase a runtime (3, 5, 10 or 20 user), you - the developer - can create an application (or as many applications as you want) and sell those to as many customers as you can find. alpha does not want a piece of your pie, and alpha does not participate in your revenue stream in any way at all (beyond the initial price of the runtime). this was how it was with the runtime before V6, and this is how it still is with v6.

    the only difference between v5 and v6 is that the unlimited-user runtime is not sold on our web store, but is sold directly by our sales people who will quote a price that is fair to both alpha and the customer.




    the web app server is different. it must be licensed for use on every server on which it is run. this is in line with how all server based products that I am aware of are licensed.


  3. #33
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    Default RE: Pricing 2

    Hi Selwyn,

    Let me give you a tip:

    I think I understood how your runtime-policy worked pretty much at once. But there are lots of (potential) customers that do not have a clue about what are your regulations to that effect.

    I have email correspondence from German Users who did not understand that you could publish your app unlimited times but only the number of users using the app at the same time was limited. They did not understand right, so they moved on AND BOUGHT ANOTHER PRODUCT !

    My advice is to improve your communication and presentation about what can be done and what can not be done with your licenses, especially if you consider that some (I hope more and more...) customers are NOT native English speakers.
    You are loosing customers because of this !!

    Furthermore it might be true the licensing structure is in line with what others do (although I quickly found a company that does it per developer, see my earlier posting in this thread), that is not important for a company that wants to be a market leader. They set their own standards!

    The licensing structure is a difficult issue, I understood that reading all other users posts as well.
    In some cases the WAS costs may be easy to enroll and fully justifyable without effort. In some cases this may not be the case.
    I understood the problems are concentrated at non-profit organizations like churches etc. and low-priced customer apps. Maybe you can introduce special pricing for non-profits ? That is not a nasty thing to consider, there is a society responsability issue as well.
    To clearify: I am not involved in any Non Profit, just to avoid questions about that.
    Just some thoughts.

    Kind regards,

    Marcel1

  4. #34
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    Default RE: Pricing 2

    Marcel,

    I think your suggestion to have a lower pricing structure for non-profits might be an invitation to step on a slippery slope. To me it boils down to costs versus benefits. These judgments are unique to each customer, and involve careful comparisons of the alternatives.

    I also think it's fair to say that Alpha's vision of it's 'typical' developer/customer did not include folks who were producing shrink wrapped web enabled databases. Instead, I think maybe they targeted developers who are delivering custom solutions for individual customers, and folks who will be hosting web services for customers on their own.

    My father is 81. He and his golfing buddies would 'enjoy' a web enabled database for scheduling, scorekeeping, etc. However, I cannot imagine him buying a shrink wrapped package, negotiating its installation with a web host, and then maintaining it. He wouldn't pay thousands of dollars for this because it's not worth thousands of dollars to him.

    -- tom

  5. #35
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    Default RE: Pricing 2

    Hi Tom,

    Hmm.
    I think you are right in the first two allineas.

    I share your perception of the typical Alpha customer.
    I also agree that low pricing for non-profits might be a step on a slippery slope. It was just an idea based on the assumption from reading the postings that most of the concerns came from developers working for non-profit organizations. It is just like Microsofts Student Licenses.
    At once everybody I know was a Student. Some even became student because of a Golf training....

    Point to consider in favor of Alpha's Pricing Policy is further, that Web functionality is not an all-purpose tool like the runtime. It adds functionality which CAN be implemented but MUST not be implemented only because we can. It has to service a function wanted by the customer.

    In your example of the golf software it might even be the question whether web functionality is of that importance for such an application. It would be if you wanted to present it as a database to be accessable not only by your father, but also by his buddies to maintain a club database for all. If it were to be just for his own use, web functionality would not be an issue at all.

    Marcel

  6. #36
    Former Alpha Employee JerryBrightbill's Avatar
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    Default RE: Pricing 2

    Marcel

    I agree with much of your discussion. The new version does many things and is a great tool, but it may not be the correct tool for every job. I doubt it was ever intended for inexpensive, prepackaged applications. It is a tool for specific applications.

    I know some people in the past purchased the unlimited runtime and then effectively "gave" it away as part of a packaged product. Since the runtime was cheap, spreading the cost over even a few sales was easy to justify. I don't have a copy of the runtime license at the moment, but I think the license was intended for a single installation with unlimited users connected, not redistributed to unlimited installations. But since there was no registration, people treated it as shareware.

    Not many companies give away their software like Adobe and Adobe reader. But Adobe knows that someone has to create the original, and there is where the money is made.

    Another example is PKZIP. You can purchase a single user copy for very little. But if you want to redistribute it as embedded in another program, legally, you need to buy a distribution license. That is priced by quote only and is probably based on how many times it will be distributed. Winzip is similar. A single user is $29.95, but volume discounts are avail based on a cost per user. For example, it is $4.00 per user for 500-749 PCs ($2,000 +). But some users just buy the single user and attach it to every install. Yes that makes it cheap, but is also not legal.

    Alpha hasn’t created a pricing scheme for volume redistribution. Some people may not like that, but prepackaged inexpensive consumer products have never been their market. Sure, some of us have “prepackaged” solutions, but in most cases the market is a small specialty market and the cost of the core program or license is not a significant part of the overall cost. For the market that Alpha Software is targeting, the pricing is very reasonable and certainly in line with other similar products.

    This has been an interesting thread with many considered opinions. There have also been statements that show a general lack of knowledge of the marketplace. But they have definitely been in the minority.

    Jerry

  7. #37
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    Default RE: Pricing 2

    Jerry,
    I don't believe the runtime was intended for a "single Installation"

    From the Alpha Store, 3 user runtime;

    Sell or deploy an application to users who don't have or need a copy of Alpha Five.

    This runtime can be used for an unlimited number of sites, provided no site has more than 3 concurrent users.


    Bill Belanger

  8. #38
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    Default RE: Pricing 2

    I am a long time developer.For some balance to this thread, I would like to state that I consider the $699 per server to be more than reasonable. Additionally, I was pleasantly surprised that the full version price stayed the same.

    As Jerry stated, the web server is obviously not the answer for a $69 package, so for scenarios like that, you will have to find another solution.

  9. #39
    Tony Moriarty
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    Default RE: Pricing 2

    John...for a long time now I've used ASPMaker from... http://www.hkvstore.com/aspmaker
    for prototyping...Web database applications

    It sells for US$39.95 (US)...and I believe it to be the best value for the money "Simple Web database application building tool" in the world.
    For example...import the Northwind.mdb & it takes less than 10 minutes to create a application web site with a menu...and all the tables etc.
    Numerous additional options...included in the price...can be turned on/off...by ticking/un-ticking a check box.
    Like every good golfer...database/web developers mustn't be blinkered...they need to have a bag of additional "tools".
    Regards
    Tony Moriarty

  10. #40
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    Default RE: Pricing 2

    Tony,
    Thanks for the tip.This could possibly be an answer for those folks that are designing the $69 web based apps ( not my market now or ever ).
    However, I still feel that as long as the Alpha server product is robust, the ability to interact with the Alpha data using genie created Xbasic commands is a home run for Alpha developers, and that the price is reasonable.
    Why do you only use this product for protyping??
    John

  11. #41
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    Default RE: Pricing 2

    Hi All,

    The link below is for a FREE ASP.NET tool

    http://www.asp.net
    Ray

  12. #42
    Tony Moriarty
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    Default RE: Pricing 2

    I use ASPMaker for Web application prototyping John BECAUSE
    most clients have existing data...so I can quickly import their tables .dbf .mdb mysql or whatever...and get an immediate 'feel' for the data in the Browser.
    ASPMaker also gives me an instant view of any table changes/adjustments.
    This 'visualisation'...along with my clients brief etc...helps me to prepare a better client project/solution.

    Having said that...in conjunction with learning A5V6 I'm adding WinDev v8...along with all it's pretty database 'things' to my toolkit...BECAUSE I don't have any other distractions or time problems & I'm not blinkered.
    Regards
    Tony Moriarty

  13. #43
    Member Mike Konoff's Avatar
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    Default RE: Pricing 2

    Tom,

    Suggestion for your Pops golfing buddies and scheduling; try a yahoo! group. It's free. You can send one email to the email address of the group and all members of the group get the email. Reply, and a reply goes to all memebers of the group. I don't think there's anyway to track scoring on that though. Might be helpful.

    Mike

  14. #44
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    Default RE: Pricing 2

    Thanks!

    -- tom

  15. #45
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    Default RE: Pricing 2

    Sure, but 10 cents to a hole in a donut, you are better off w/o that customer.

    Example, my wife and I owned a spa retail store. One day, a local motel owner came in for a bid. I knew this guy from all the times he called the Sheriff's Dept because of petty arguments with his customers. I got stuck answering most of his complaints but it gave me a heads up.

    Anyhow, I told my wife to cahrge full retail and then add an extra $500 as we'll be getting a bunch of petty complaints from him and he either pays up front or I don't need his business. Don't get me wrong, we treated our customers well but this guy would cost me $$$$ (my time) if I wasn't careful.

    She added $500 to the bid; we got the sale and after the sale, his calls began and I smiled all the way to and from his motel.

    My point is that if we can't get a sale because the potential customer can't afford a WAS license, we are probly ahead not to have that customer. I know, for some it is truely a financial issue. But for those folks, either it's done right or you'll probably be an unhappy camper.

    kenn

  16. #46
    "Certified" Alphaholic DaveM's Avatar
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    Default RE: Pricing 2

    Was your store required by the government to put a price on the service as the Automotive industry is with a Monrony sticker??

    Dave

  17. #47
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    Default RE: Pricing 2

    What's that got to to with the customer unless the government is setting a 'cap' on the price? Does the government require you to accept or service any and all customers?

    I work in a very strict federal and state controlled environment. There are no variables, everyone has a right to apply and it's required they be treated with the utmost respect. We have lots of 'cranky and demanding clients. We go very strictly by the rules and regs and tell the unhappy ones to contact thr state and/or the feds.

    Not sure you environment is that tight so you have more options than I have.

    kenn

  18. #48
    John Pintado
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    Default RE: Pricing 2

    Selwyn Rabins wrote:

    "the only difference between v5 and v6 is that the unlimited-user runtime is not sold on our web store, but is sold directly by our sales people who will quote a price that is fair to both alpha and the customer. "

    Could you explain how this works?

    Does this mean that if Developer "A" and Developer "B" want to purchase an unlimited runtime, A may get a better price than B? What factors will be considered in determining the "fair" price?

    Or is the "unlimited user" runtime aimed at "customers", that is, end users. If a developer creates an application for a customer who needs more than a 20-user runtime, does the customer, rather than the developer, purchase the runtime? In other words, is this runtime different from others in that it no longer allows a developer to purchase it one time and redistribute to an unlimited number of customers?

  19. #49
    "Certified" Alphaholic DaveM's Avatar
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    Default RE: Pricing 2

    Kenn,

    The government at times has set caps on car sales prices. We had 2 years of frozen prices in one stretch.

    What other industry has the total cost of their merchandise plastered all over the internet? The cost of operating a dealership is not advertised though.

    Note: we are careful with our advertising to get the most for our dollar. Last month it was over 50,000 = 282.00 per vehicle sold.

    We have to answer to federal, state, county and city regulations on many levels. We have a representative of one or the other in our Dealership every week for something.

    No, I am not as regulated as some places are.

    Yes I do have to answer to many people! - wife -kids -bill collectors -Owner

    Yes, I make ok money!

    I DO have to treat all the customers with respect and I SHOULD have to.

    You are probably on some type of salary? Hourly? I am soley commission! No sales - No money - No job!

    I wish everybody had to work in a car lot for a couple weeks. It would wake them up.

    You are welcome to swap jobs with me for a couple weeks if you want? We work 60 plus hours a week.

    Your friend.
    Dave

  20. #50
    Alpha Software Employee Lenny Forziati's Avatar
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    Default RE: Pricing 2

    Marcel, Xbasic provides raw sockets functionality to you. From a technology standpoint, that and knowledge of the HTTP specification are all you need to write a web server for yourself which you could then price however you wished.

    -Lenny

  21. #51
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    Default RE: Pricing 2

    Well it took me a while, but I finally got to the crux of the bicuit in this thread. I'm a small-time independent developer with (so far) small needs.

    Marcel said:
    "In your example of the golf software it might even be the question whether web functionality is of that importance for such an application."

    WHAT IS a good solution for a database to be shared by a small number of users (4 or 5) spread across the US? They already have A5V5 full and runtime licenses, and they don't give a hoot whether the data comes from the internet or Santa Claus, as long as they can all share it.

    For the record, personally, I think the price of the WAS seems quite reasonable for what it delivers, but so far it's more than I (my clients) need. I've built LANs and Fibre-channel SANs, but this is new ground for me.

    Surely it's possible to share this database across the US without WAS, isn't it?

    cheers,
    Bob Emery

  22. #52
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    Default RE: Pricing 2

    Good question?

    I see that it has not been answered yet. Can someone shed some light on this?

    I am trying to make the decision to upgrade to v6 or make do. All of these comments about pricing makes me think that the fine folks at Alpha should have made their pricing intentions known, and more clearly stated.

    I love the work that I am doing in Alpha now, but if the unlimited user structure is gone, or will now be client based, I am not sure if the upgrade is worth it.

  23. #53
    John Pintado
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    Default RE: Pricing 2

    I've been waiting also. Until you posted your message, I just figured no one else was interested in the answer.

    John

  24. #54
    Alpha Software Employee Lenny Forziati's Avatar
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    Default RE: Pricing 2

    All runtimes are still unlimited distribution. So a developer can still purchase a single copy and distribute it many times.

    It is only the unlimted concurrent users that has changed. If you need more than the 20 user, you can contact Brett Johnston here at Alpha for more specific information on the runtime pricing. He will work with you to create a custom solution for your need based on the number of concurrent users you would like to support.

    -Lenny

  25. #55
    John Pintado
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    Default RE: Pricing 2

    Lenny,

    Thanks for your answer. I don't really like "secret" pricing or haggling over prices but if that is the way you want to market, it's your call.

    John

  26. #56
    Alpha Software Employee Lenny Forziati's Avatar
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    Default RE: Pricing 2

    John, I don't know that the pricing is secret or requires haggling - I develop the software but I don't sell it. That is why I suggested contacting Brett, he can give you definitive answers.

    -Lenny

  27. #57
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    Default RE: Pricing 2

    John:

    I am in agreement with you. From what I have read, I think we are not alone...at all.

    Lenny:

    I would think that the powers that be would see that this new pricing structure is causing major concerns with the developers that have been using Alpha products for a while. Not having your pricing spelled out on the website as it was in the past does raise concerns.

    Maybe someone needs to rethink their decision on this matter. When an issue starts to create so much confusion, and discussion, maybe it need to be looked at.

    I understand you are on the development side (good job btw), but you have access to the business side of the Alpha operation. We rely on voice too. Maybe you understand and completely agree with the new pricing. Not sure...

    Thank you for your response.

    Mike

  28. #58
    Former Alpha Employee Brett Johnston's Avatar
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    Default RE: Pricing 2

    Unlimited Runtime Clarification:

    I hope to be able to clarify some issues on Alpha’s runtime pricing for its custom runtimes.

    What we have done is simply created more runtime options. We have kept our standard 3/5/10 and 20 user runtimes, which are far and away our most common runtimes used, but have now given the option to create a custom runtime over and above 20. This was based on feed back from consultants in the past who have questioned why there is nothing in between a 20 and an unlimited user runtime. We are in no way doing “secret” pricing as previously suggested, there is in fact is a schedule for runtime counts above 20 but for simplicity they are not all listed because we did not want to complicate the ordering options on the web site. Anyone wanting this schedule can email me at brett@alphasoftware.com and I will be happy to send it out to them.

    The runtime is still an unlimited distribution runtime, so you are still able to distribute your applications to an unlimited number of users/sites.

    Please feel free to call or e-mail me directly and I will be happy to address this with you.

    The Bottom line is that version 6 offers many advantages that can enable you to build better applications and we want to work with you to accommodate your specific requirements.

    Brett Johnson
    (781)229-4500 Ext 11


  29. #59
    John Pintado
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    Default RE: Pricing 2

    Lenny and Brett Johnson have answered my questions and I thank them for their responses.

    I withdraw my comment about "secret pricing". If there is a schedule for unlimited runtimes over 20 and it will be emailed to anyone who requests it, the pricing is certainly not secret. If a developer thinks he might one day need an over-20 concurrent user runtime, he will have some idea of what his costs will be and can weigh that as a factor in his decision to purchase or not purchase Version 6.

    John

  30. #60
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    Default RE: Pricing 2

    As Brett and Alpha have certainly worked with me on issues like this in the past, I almost hate to say that I think there is still a problem with not having a reasonably priced (certainly no more than $1,299!) unlimited (concurrent users) runtime, as there was with v5.

    Whether it is the deveolper or a developer's client or new prospect, it was phychologically a big selling point with v5 applications to be able to say something like "go with this runtime app option and you don't ever have to worry about hitting a ceiling on concurrent users and thereby having to pony up more money." Not that many of my clients ever go over 20 concurent users (though one certainly did for about a year). Reality is not the point. For me it has been a significant a selling point to be able to say, "go with me and you can have hundreds of concurrent users for all I care." God forbid they ever had hundreds, but again, that's not the point. Maybe there is some good rationale for the switch in the way runtimes are priced, but I certainly doubt that it is going to benefit anyone.

    Ray Lyons

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