March 21, 2005

How Is This Better Value For Developers?

The estimated pricing for new MSDN Subscriptions and "Team Foundation" CAL's were released today, and I'm sorry, but you've made development more expensive.

It used to be that the premiere MSDN offering was MSDN Universal. With that, you got limited use licenses for everything that Microsoft made, and Visual Studio .NET Enterprise Architect, the creme of the crop of development tools. You got all that for $2,799 a year to start, and $2,299 a year to renew.

The "replacement" MSDN plan that comes out when Visual Studio 2005 ships is MSDN Premium. You get Visual Studio 2005 Professional with that, and one of three Team Edition versions: Developers, which includes code analysis, coverage, profiling and unit testing tools; Architects, which includes modeling tools; or Testers which includes load testing tools. You also get one Team Foundation CAL for the subscription. Not one per All that for the svelte price of $5,469 a year.

Yes, you heard me, nearly $5,500 a year for what you currently get for $2,800. If you just want the CAL's, well, they're $499 each. That's just to access the Team Foundation Server, which has not had pricing announced yet. Of course, if you're large enough for volume licensing, that drops to a svelte $3,191 a year (including Software Assurance).

Plus, their roles are a bit muddled. Testing does code coverage testing as well, so does that mean that test will need the Team Edition for Developers to do that part of their job?

Why limit the code analysis, coverage, profiling and unit testing to Team Edition? You've already got the Express SKU's stripped down to nothing. Now you're telling developers who use the Professional SKU that they're not good enough to profile their code? Are you telling them that they're not good enough to unit test?

Are the Team Editions plugins for Visual Studio 2005 Professional, or are they completely seperate products? I'd feel very silly if my testers couldn't bring up code and do builds. I've had several instances at previous jobs where as a tester, I had to step through checkins to find when a bug first manifested itself.

Well, the Team Foundation CAL's are a decent deal at $499 each. That's cheaper than the $800 for a Perforce CAL plus the $99 for a FogBugz 4.0 CAL. But remember, Microsoft...those CAL's come with the server software AND the client software and they're proven products, not the standard Microsoft v1 releases. How much extra is the software to use those CAL's going to be?

I can see the packaging now for the 3 SKU's...the Express SKU's will be a picture of a "special needs" child riding a bicycle with massive training wheels. The Professional SKU will be a mountain bike ("Now you're able to get around without those limits we put on you.") Finally, the Team System SKU's will be pictures of gold-plated Ferrari's ("Leave those other 'Professional's' in the dust...")


Anonymous said...

I think the VS2005 Professional + MSDN Premium subscription gets you more or less everything MSDN Universal does today, sans any of the Team Edition stuff, and runs around the same price as MSDN Universal today. I'm recommending that my company stick with that option. We can continue to use 3rd-party unit test, SCC, and build tools, no big huhu. Hopefully they don't yank FXCop, the Free Version, though ;O.

Prashant Sridharan - Microsoft said...

That is correct. "VS05 Professional Edition + MSDN Premium Subscription" is intended to be a superset of what you have today. And, it's lower priced than what you have today in MSDN/U.

Also, don't forget that if you have an active MSDN/U subscription when we ship the product, we will automatically transition you to a no-cost upgrade to your choice of one of the VSTS role-based SKUs (Architect, Developer, or Tester). We'll also give you pretty good upgrade pricing to the Suite.

In addition, if you are NOT an MSDN/U subscriber right now, we've begun a promotional period where you can purchase, renew, or upgrade to MSDN/U right now at an even bigger cost savings.

The bottom line for us was that we wanted to reward those customers who bet on us early.

Prashant Sridharan - Microsoft said...

Also forgot to add that each of the client SKUs includes a CAL.