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Jetbrains Is Totally Right With Its Subscription Model

I think JetBrains did the right thing by changing its subscription model
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Jetbrains Is Totally Right With Its Subscription Model

JetBrains recently announced that they are moving to a subscription service and people freaked. As an entrepreneur and a guy who spent a lot of time in big companies (e.g. Sun/Oracle) I totally applaud JetBrains for the move and think they did the right thing!

Yes some customers will complain loudly and use inappropriate language. But ultimately software is a service and should be sold as a service. The complainers should not focus on their own issues and start looking at the issues of running a software company.
Software is developed by people who need salaries, subscriptions mean we can hire easily and know reasonably well that we will have enough for salaries/expansion. Licenses complicate things financially and cause a great deal of fluctuations. They also create lopsided companies where the sales team is much bigger and more dominant than development (e.g. Oracle vs. Sun).

You can't satisfy all the users with any pricing model, even if your pricing is competitive/cheaper people will always have issues. But unfortunately a company can't start tailoring every possible package to every possible use case. If you like a product and want the company to have a sustainable business model, you should root for it to go into the subscription model, its not greed: its sustainability.
Historically software companies would take lines of credit from banks/venture so they could develop the software and would then include the cost of the credit into the final shrink wrap cost. With SaaS the need for credit/funding is far smaller and companies can scale with demand more easily. This eventually rolls down to the users in more competitive pricing.

So no, you can't buy a product and expect it to work indefinitely with a subscription model. But when could you do it with shrink wrapped software?
Every single piece of shrink wrapped software I have on my shelf is completely useless to me at this moment, if I used a subscription I would have paid less and just stopped the subscription. OS's update, JVM's change and so do needs, so IMHO JetBrains did the right thing both for itself and its customers. This will allow them to improve their product and make it more accessible to people.

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Posted by Shai Almog

Shai is the co-founder of Codename One. He's been a professional programmer for over 25 years. During that time he has worked with dozens of companies including Sun Microsystems.
For more follow Shai on Twitter & github.