On 03:06 PM 11/11/2001 -0500, Abd ul-Rahman Lomax said:
At 10:57 AM 11/10/01 +1100, Ian Wilson wrote:
I too have spoken to people in Altium on ATS (in fact they rang me in response to a long, hopefully carefully crafted email, direct email that I had sent).  My understanding is that the information in the press release is correct.  I repeat:
"Altium Total Support is annually renewable and is priced at US$1995. for P-CAD and Protel full suites. Prices of other product configurations are available on request."

This press release information is consistent with my discussions with Altium.  So we seem to have conflicting advice.

Not necessarily, at least there is no clear conflict between what I was told and what Mr. Wilson has reported. He may have been told more than he has reported.

Of course we discussed more -  I am told that I can be abrupt but not that abrupt (usually, anyway).

I requested clarification earlier today, and made very clear that I was not interested in private information, only stuff that can be generally discussed. It is important to note that this information is for Australian customers and includes 10% Australian GST (VAT by another name).  I quote:
"If you have Protel99SE purchased prior to October 1st then the enhanced ATS
support services are free for the next 12 months.  This does not include
software upgrades.  Based on our current pricing the upgrade to "P2002" (for
want of a name) will be approximately $2195.  This upgrade will include 12
months ATS."

The person I am communicating with is responsible for Australia, and cannot talk on behalf of US or other locations.  In their words:
I have no problem with you quoting the information provided in our
discussions.  It cannot be stressed enough that anything I discuss with you
is in the context of the Australian sales of Protel/ATS and our relationship
with yourself as a Protel customer.  I am not able to comment on operations
in the US.

Also, please note that I referred to the upgrade as P2002 in my original email simply as a convenient label - without any knowledge of any release schedules at all - so do not read anything special into this label.

There was more in a follow up email exchange.  My statement "I remain very concerned about the seeming doubling in effective maintenance cost of a Protel license", elicited the following four paragraphs:
The way I see it we are asking you to pay more on a per annum basis.  Our
pricing is structured so that you however pay no more on a per version

If you choose to maintain ATS membership every year then you should expect
to get value for the mony spent.  Hence we make the commitment to deliver
more software and better support.

If you choose not to maintain ATS membership every year and say only upgrade
every second version when you can see the value (which is a typical customer
pattern) then based on current pricing structures you would not end up
paying any more on a per version basis.

Hence to avoid spending more than you currently do you would need to skip a
version.  This may mean a change in your upgrade patterns unless of course
the additional promised versions deliver on the price.

So, the trade off for ATS seems to be that Protel are expecting (I am hunting for the correct words here) to release upgrades more often than every two years. It would seem likely that the upgrades we previously got for free, such as the new facilities in P99SE and the add-on servers that have been delivered since, are now effectively subject to payment.  I guess I have no big issue with this but bug fixes should remain publicly available. And it remains to be seen that the value is there.  One assumes that there will be a significant increase in support and the quality of the features provided in each upgrade.  I remain very nervous.

I repeat that the person with whom I am having this exchange is fully aware (and gave permission) that these exchanges be public *but* stressed that they only have context in Australia.  It would be for others to try to get the same level of detail for their respective areas.  When you do so I suggest that you make clear your intention, and ask permission, to publicly discuss and quote the replies and that you ask specific questions in a polite but firm manner.

Something to chew on,
Ian Wilson

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