Every alternate day we see some big market player getting sued by another smaller one over the word monopoly. Most of the time, while reading about it, many may have wondered, what’s so bad about it ?
Here is a really good example of why we should not have monopoly.
Take this example of vBulletin. One of the largest selling software product (internet web site script).
No doubt, they are the best when it comes to making a forum. Plug n play, everything is managed by database and really having a wide range of add-ons and modifications. Those who works and uses forum / online discussion boards, they know, it is the ultimate word when it comes to making a flexible forum.
Their licensing used to be very simple, either you buy once or you hire it for a certain time. Pay USD 100 per year to get unlimited updates and support or pay USD 160 to buy the script for life time without any support or upgrade after a year.
They never used to be cheap but they were clear about what you were getting after paying what. A potential customer knew that if he/she buy it, then after an year he or she wont receive any update or support, he/she would be on his/her own. Where as a customer who hire it, would need to pay USD 100 per year to continue enjoying the service. What ever the case was, in either way as a customer you knew its about 1 year and a certain (in this case, USD 100) amount and one could plan according to that.
Most of the web masters preferred the hiring way. As it ensured continuous update, which is necessary in terms of security of the script. Hence there are thousands of such customers of vBulletin who are running their software as a hired script.
But look what greed has forced vBulletin to do. With their 4.0 version, they made a complete mess of the licensing system.
- They removed the leased license option totally
- USD 195 for purchase the software
- Software wont include support, which is now USD 80 per year.
What they are doing is, they are forcing all those leased (hired version) owners to buy the new version of this software. Because if they (the customers) don’t, after their term gets over, the software expires and they (the customers) end up with the down web site.
Lets compare the old structure and the new one.
All customers has to pay USD 195 to start with to get the software in indefinite updates till the next major version upgrade. It doesn’t include any support, hence one has to pay another USD 80 per year for the support option. So in total its USD 275 for the 1st year and USD 80 per year from next year onwards given that if you need support.
Can you spot the catch here ?
As a customer, you don’t know when the next major upgrade is coming and what would be its price !! Just like what has happened with all these hired / leased license owners.