Part II – Visual Studio 2005 Pricing & Licensing
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In Part I, I described the evolution of Visual Studio, including the new Visual Studio 2005 Express Editions and Visual Studio 2005 Team System. In this part, I’ll explore Visual Studio 2005 pricing and licensing. However, I’m going to save a discussion of Team Foundation Server pricing and licensing for Part III.
Current Pricing & Licensing
First, let’s take a look at how people acquire Visual Studio .NET 2003 and MSDN Subscriptions today and examine what the retail pricing looks like based on MSRP in US dollars:
Figure 2.1 – Visual Studio .NET 2003 Pricing
Figure 2.2 – MSDN Subscriptions Pricing
Note The prices shown are for initial purchase only. When renewing an MSDN Subscription, the price is typically lower. As with Visual Studio .NET 2003, each MSDN Subscription level contains the contents of the level below it. For a full inventory of what’s currently in each level, see Index and Product Information.
Back in Part I, I stated that Visual Studio .NET 2003 Professional and Visual Studio .NET 2003 Enterprise Architect are the most commonly used editions of Visual Studio .NET 2003. However, Visual Studio .NET 2003 Enterprise Architect is seldom purchased as a standalone product. Instead, most people opt for an MSDN Universal Subscription, which provides considerably more value for the money. In fact, for existing MSDN Universal subscribers, the renewal cost for MSDN Universal is less than the cost of Visual Studio .NET Enterprise Architect. Most developers recognize the value and accessibility to Microsoft products that MSDN Universal provides, which explains its popularity.
Figure 2.3 – Most Common Way to Purchase Visual Studio .NET 2003 Enterprise Architect
Historically, purchasing an MSDN subscription has meant always having the latest version of Visual Studio. Essentially, an MSDN Subscription has been viewed by some as being like a de facto Software Assurance subscription for Visual Studio (and Microsoft Office Professional if you have MSDN Universal). However, this is inconsistent with how Microsoft products are typically sold. For example, large organizations looking to purchase Microsoft Office by subscription purchase Microsoft Office licenses and then acquire a Software Assurance subscription to ensure they have access to the latest version for the duration of the subscription. In other words, you buy a license for the product and then associate a subscription with it. With Visual Studio 2005, we are adopting this model. Instead of purchasing an MSDN subscription that contains Visual Studio, customers will instead purchase an edition of Visual Studio that suits their needs and then choose whether or not to associate a subscription with it.
When Team System pricing and licensing was announced in March of this year, several small and independent development teams felt they were priced-out of Team System. Much has also been said about the meaning of the word universal when talking about the MSDN Universal Subscription. I won’t debate the meaning of the word, especially in the context of a product name, which in my opinion precludes it from having definitive meaning.
Options for Current MSDN Universal Subscribers
When Visual Studio 2005 launches later this year, MSDN Universal and MSDN Enterprise will no longer be available for purchase. At that time, active MSDN Universal subscribers will be offered an upgrade to MSDN Premium Subscription and their choice of Visual Studio 2005 Team Edition for Software Architects, Visual Studio 2005 Team Edition for Software Developers, or Visual Studio 2005 Team Edition for Software Testers at no additional cost.
Figure 2.4 – Upgrading MSDN Universal Subscribers to a Visual Studio 2005 Team Edition Product with MSDN Premium Subscription
For those that want each of the Team Edition products, special pricing will enable MSDN Universal subscribers to upgrade to Visual Studio 2005 Team Suite.
Figure 2.5 – Upgrading MSDN Universal Subscribers to Visual Studio 2005 Team Suite with MSDN Premium Subscription at Special Pricing
Options for Current MSDN Enterprise Subscribers
Currently, MSDN Enterprise subscribers receive Visual Studio .NET Enterprise Developer. At the launch of Visual Studio 2005, active MSDN Enterprise subscribers will be automatically upgraded at no additional cost to MSDN Premium Subscription and Visual Studio 2005 Team Edition for Software Developers. Not only will MSDN Enterprise subscribers receive a substantial Visual Studio upgrade, but they’ll also receive an expanded MSDN subscription at an incredible price.
Figure 2.6 – Upgrading MSDN Enterprise Subscribers to Visual Studio 2005 Team Edition for Software Developers with MSDN Premium Subscription
Options for Current MSDN Professional Subscribers
Also at Visual Studio 2005 launch, MSDN Professional subscribers will have the choice of Visual Studio 2005 Professional Edition with MSDN Professional Subscription, or upgrading to Visual Studio 2005 Professional Edition with MSDN Premium Subscription. As you may recall from Part 1, Visual Studio 2005 Professional Edition with the MSDN Premium Subscription is a pure superset of the functionality found in MSDN Universal today. With this transition plan, Microsoft is providing more features when compared to the MSDN Universal Subscription. As you can see here, it is less expensive, too.
Figure 2.7 – Visual Studio 2005 Professional Edition with MSDN Premium Subscription is a Superset of Visual Studio .NET 2003 Enterprise Architect
Figure 2.8 – Upgrading MSDN Professional Subscribers to Visual Studio 2005 Professional Edition with MSDN Professional Subscription
Visual Studio 2005 Professional Edition is built specifically for small businesses and individual professional developers. MSDN Professional Subscription includes a vastly improved version of Visual SourceSafe for the change management needs of this category of developers. Additionally, Microsoft does realize there is value in some Team System features for these developers, such as unit testing and code coverage. This is why Visual Studio 2005 Team Edition for Software Developers has been made so accessible for current MSDN Universal and Enterprise subscribers.
More for Less
Alternatively, customers can opt for purchasing Visual Studio 2005 Professional Edition without an accompanying MSDN subscription. What should be immediately obvious is that Visual Studio Professional pricing has dropped considerably while the level of functionality has increased dramatically. Almost all of the Visual Studio functionality found in Visual Studio .NET Enterprise Architect for US$2499 will be available in Visual Studio 2005 Professional Edition for US$799! With all the noise surrounding Team System pricing, this fact has been sorely overlooked.
Figure 2.9 – Visual Studio 2005 Professional Edition and Visual Studio 2005 Standard Edition
I won’t say much about Visual Studio 2005 Standard Edition or the Visual Studio 2005 Express Editions. These editions are both relatively inexpensive, with the Standard Edition having an estimated retail price of US$299 and the Express Editions having an estimated retail price of US$49.
If you don’t have an MSDN subscription (Universal or Enterprise), you should seriously consider getting one before Visual Studio 2005 launches. If your goal is to obtain all of Team System, an MSDN Universal Subscription is your best option. However, if obtaining the unit testing and code coverage features found in Visual Studio 2005 Team Edition for Software Developers is your goal, MSDN Enterprise Subscription will suffice.
In Part III, I’ll take a look at Team Foundation Server pricing & licensing.