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Making Every Fox Count


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Tactics to save serious money and help VFP in the process.

The Problem: See VFP revenue model and VFP revenue model problems. VFP isn't getting its due share of Microsoft marketing mind, and moreover its sales cannot possibly be correctly measured by Microsoft because many VFP developers get their Fox from MSDN Universal, MSDN Enterprise, or MSDN Professional.

Proposed solution: Given the VFP revenue model, and the revenue model problems, then consider downgrading, staggering, or even foregoing your MSDN Subscription and instead purchase VFP and other products directly.

Given:
MSDN Subscription Level Features: http://msdn.microsoft.com/subscriptions/prodinfo/levels.asp
MSDN Subscription Pricing info: http://msdn.microsoft.com/subscriptions/prodinfo/pricing.asp

Case study: Starting in 2002, a single developer, MSDN Universal subscriber, using mostly VFP for development.

Scenario goes something like this:
  1. MSDN Universal subscription not renewed when it expires late 2002
  2. Later purchase VFP 8 upgrade full version through retail channels.
  3. Still later purchase VFP 9 upgrade through retail channels.
  4. Purchase other Microsoft products on an as-needed basis
  5. Purchasing a lower level of MSDN, MSDN professional, every 3 or 4 years say. (IOW, a MSDN downgrade). <--- Never required, as it turns out.

Ignoring the time value of money, this is how it all plays out
Item Do Nothing Make Fox Count
2002-2003
MSDN Universal
Incl tax, ship.
$2,644 .
VFP 8 ( can't just upgrade -- see VFP 8 Upgrade License) . $649
2003-2004
MSDN Universal $2,644 .
2004-2005
MSDN Universal $2,644 .
VFP 9 Upgrade . $300
2005-2006
MSDN Universal $2,644 .
2006-2007
MSDN Universal $2,644 .
Total $13,220 $949
In other words, save US$12,000 over 5 years, and VFP will get credit for two full sales instead of 1/50th of a sale (see VFP revenue model -- I reckon is the maximum it gets from each MSDN purchase).

[2003.02.28 09:12:30 PM EST] Ken Levy stated today on UT that MSDN get more for the VFP Team than either of the boxed upgrade or the boxed full product. -- Jim Nelson

Really? He probably means that overall MSDN brings in more Fox revenue credits than does revenue from individual box sales. I'm sure that's true. But at the margin, if MS sells one more MSDN vs. one more Fox box, the Fox box brings in way more credit for Fox. If Ken Levy actually meant that the maginal revenue to Fox from one MSDN is more than one Fox in a box, then Ken Levy is shamelessly (shamelessly) bullshitting us. I can't imagine, even for a second, that that he means buying MSDN brings more to Fox than does buying a Fox box. It's impossible.-- Steven Black

Here it is, Steve, copy/paste from message #759650 on UT:
VODRASKOVA:> MSDN would somehow solve the problem till VFP7 remains included, but sales of MSDN would harm the VFP sales figures, wouldn´t them?

LEVY:No, this is incorrect. MSDN Subscriptions are better for the VFP team than VFP upgrades or stand alone sales. -- Jim Nelson

Therefore, if this is true, then the MS value model says that a $500 box of Fox counts less for Fox than does the $1500 or $2700 box of MSDN counts for Fox. If this is true, then Microsoft values us far more as purveyors of the wider toolset and technologies, than they value the direct ratchet to the product's credit. i.e. the rationale is: if MS Developer Tools do well, the Fox Team ultimately does well, and direct unit sales in the product mix carry low weight to the tally. Interesting. This linkage cuts both ways. If MS Developer Tools do not fare particularly well, then so goes Fox. In this event, but also arguably in any event, the better outcomes come from the better direct sales tally.

But I'm also inclined to believe he's just saying that more total revenue comes to Fox from MSDN allocations than from Fox box sales. That's not news....-- Steven Black

-- Steven Black
I'm not sure I get it Steve, why buy MSDN at all? The products that come with it may only be used by current subscribers and only for development and test purposes. There is no "refresh" option. Further, MSDN pro does not include SQL server, which I'm sure you want. - ?lc

MSDN has both purchase and renewal SKU's. Moreover from http://msdn.microsoft.com/subscriptions/prodinfo/qa.asp#licensing,
MSDN Subscriptions has a perpetual license, so subscribers can still use the products received with their MSDN Subscription after their subscription has expired.
I therefore have SQL Server 2000 (and my versions of everything else in MSDN Universal) to perpetuity. The next SQL Server is like the next version of Windows, or Office or Project or Visio. etc: At best just marginally more useful with each version. In terms of Database, I (we) have all I'll (we'll) ever personally need. This is AmpleSufficientTechnology, I reckon. -- Steven Black

To properly determine total cost and savings dont you need to include all the other MSDN software your company uses? I know our list is long: Win2k Server, MS SQL Server 2000, Win2k Pro (x10), VB, Interdev, C++, etc... There is no way we could save money as you suggest by purchasing MS VFP all by itself. -- Dave Noal

Well it'll be different for different situations. I'm simply suggesting that if you replace your OS with your laptop's 3-year hardware cycle, and can live a few years with the same version of Office, then there's several thousand dollars in potential savings if you MSDN on a longer cycle than every year, and Fox benefits to boot. These numbers certainly apply to me, and I suspect the majority of independent developers....-- Steven Black
Interesting. I did not know this. (Neither did the MSDN rep I talked to last month while renewing one of the subscriptions we have). I think it's easy to understand the confusion when on the same page it says: MSDN Subscriptions are single-user licensed; everyone who uses the products within an MSDN Subscription must have an MSDN Subscriptions license . I suppose the "MSDN Subscriptions license" is the thing that does not expire when your MSDN Subscription does. - ?lc

But, what if I buy MSDN Universal for $895?
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=2080118941
Cute, but buying on Auction does not count as it is one of a kind. It is a good bargain though, assuming it is legit and gets delivered :) -- Alex Feldstein

Actually, that seller has MANY copies and the price is a 'buy it now' price, so you don't have to bid. There are a couple of other's that sell alot of MSDN Universal on e-bay. Most of them are about $1200 or less. Buying software from MS is usually the WORST deal, unless you are buying some major enterprise license.
Another take: If, as a developer, you're not thrilled with Microsoft's excessive emphasis on peddling revolutionary new developer products, and by extension the corresponding disreguard for promoting its pre-existing developer products, including the systematic complete disreguard for Visual FoxPro, then why are people paying rents to Microsoft that support and encourage Microsoft's behavior? If the latest-version-of-everything typically doesn't contain much of what you need, why explicitly encourage it by blindly purchasing MSDN every year?-- Steven Black

Point of information! If you are a Microsoft Solution Provider then your cost is half of the figure you give for a subscription. Of course your firm has to have at least two MCP's on board; which means that your firm has to have at least two members (M$ lone wolf filter). How does a M$ Solution Provider tell M$ that they are a FoxPro oriented, FoxPro focused Solution Provider. On our annual renewal questionaire, we do mention FoxPro somewhere as one of our expertises. -- Kenn Leland
Contributors: Steven Black
Category VFP Marketing Category Business
( Topic last updated: 2007.04.01 02:48:39 PM )