This is a question we get quite frequently, to the point where the answer is saved in the Drafts folder of everyone's Outlook, and I wanted to have a reference for everyone to see. We have a Subscription page on the website as well as an FAQ page and both are good reference points in addition to this post.
When you purchase the license, you receive a free one year subscription that entitles you to the latest version of the software. The license is perpetual and does not expire, the subscription runs year to year. If you choose not to renew, you can still use the software as is, you just won’t have access to the latest version.
That’s the canned response from my Drafts in Outlook. That’s basically what’s in the EULA and that’s 100% accurate. We’re not trying to hide the fact that you are not required to renew the subscription, because the EULA clearly states — as clearly as any legal document can state anything — that what you’re buying is the license, not the subscription. You happen to receive a subscription when you buy the license, but you’re really buying the perpetual developer seat license. Most of the time, you’ll see a feature-intensive list of reasons that try to convince you to renew based on the argument of, “We added so much last year, think of what we’ll add next year!” That’s valid, but I know I’ve spoken with a lot of customers that like the version that they’re working with, it works for them, and if it’s not broken, they have no desire to fix it. Budgetary concerns and “I’m happy with the version I have” are the two most common reasons I hear as to why customers don’t renew their subscription. I understand that, but there are some sound business cases — in addition to the feature argument — that give a compelling reason to renew.
As the software becomes more efficient, you become more efficient:
If you wait five years, then re-up your subscription, you’ve missed out on added productivity and added functionality. We’re constantly working to automate processes, have our controls do more of the backend coding for you with wizards and smart designers, and add usability enhancements to make it easier to find what you’re looking for so you get the job done faster, with less testing and QA. That is something that happens cumulatively over the course of a year long release cycle and builds on itself across versions. ComponentOne Studio 2015 has more things built into it to make you more efficient than ComponentOne Studio 2014, ComponentOne Studio 2013 moreso than 2012, 2012 than 2011, and so on.
Several small steps are easier than one big one:
As we add features, you’ll be able to use them and discover them as they come out. I get a new build every time it drops, so I’m able to work with new features step-by-step through the process. One of the reasons our developers and Product Managers know their products better than anyone is because they work with every build, they add things through each iteration, and they’re constantly working with new features as they’re added. This is basically another, “If you wait five years, you’re behind,” argument, but it’s the other side of it. Not only have you missed that added productivity, there may be features that you don’t know exist that would make your job easier, but you don’t know they’re there because so many have been added over time that it’s too much to take in at once. If you have the 2011 version of our Enterprise Edition, you're desperate for OLAP controls in more platforms that offer cube support, and you move to the 2015 version without knowing about all the great OLAP controls and features we've added, you're missing out.
I think of a subscription as insurance: It’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it:
What happens if you have ComponentOne Studio 2010 and you upgrade to Visual Studio 2015? If there’s a lengthy procurement process at your company, you either have to forestall the upgrade of your version of VS so that you can keep working with our controls, or lose out on that production while you’re waiting for the upgrade to come in. What if you have a problem and need support? We support the current release cycle and one year back, meaning that we’re currently supporting the 2014 and 2015 versions. These aren’t meant as scare tactics. Insurance companies don’t sell insurance by trying to scare you, they sell it by selling the features and security of their offerings. That’s what our subscription offers, as well as the benefits listed above.
If it’s in the budget, you don’t need to worry about it:
A number of our customers — especially those that work for state, local, or federal government — put it in their budget every year so that they don’t need to “raise” the money when the subscription comes up for renewal. It’s in the budget, they allocate the funds, and they can keep working with the latest version. Your subscription gives you access to updates and support channels, it makes you more efficient at your job, it keeps you current on new features and new control sets that we release, and it will keep getting renewed and you won't have to worry about it if you budget for it. You can take a look at your account online to view your subscription status, build a quote, or submit a support incident. You can always reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.