Xojo Freemium Model Continues

Late last week Xojo announced that the Freemium model is NOT going to be cancelled and will continue indefinitely. According to a very brief forum post they discovered new information that showed there was no significant revenue difference between the Freemium and 30 Day Models and therefor the Freemium model will continue.

I don’t care which model they end up using. We’ll be buying a license anyway. Freemium has a LOT of advantages to the community. I’m also glad that the revenue difference isn’t significant – which is, by far, the most important part that some are forgetting.

What concerns me the most is the apparent lack of due diligence on Xojo’s part. In the original announcement (since removed – I’ll get to that in a minute) they said they didn’t make this change lightly. It took roughly a week of the community questioning the move for it to be reversed because of ‘new information’.

What the hell? If there is nothing that I’ve learned in my tenure as a Xojo developer is that the community HATES change. Every time there is an IDE change, name change, framework change, licensing change, or pricing change, it will upset more than a few people. Who needs or wants that level of aggravation if it can be helped?

Major policy changes need to be thoroughly vetted well in advance by everyone on staff. Once everyone is on board then, and only then, should it be made public. The change, and subsequent reversal, doesn’t pass the smell test. I believe the decision was made by a select few and not fully investigated internally before it went public.

So lets talk briefly about removing the blog and forum post. First, Xojo has every right to pull it, shred it, burn it, and otherwise recycle the bits. Should they have done that? Well, that’s open for debate. I believe they should have edited the original post with an update at the beginning and end of the article with a quick note and link to subsequent information. That way there’s no hiding the information but also immediately corrects it. But Xojo’s not my company and not my responsibility.

Removing the blog post and forum thread does remove the original blemish. After all, they reversed the decision and really there’s nothing that changes for any user – new or existing. It does leave a minor scar though. Xojo is a small company and the engineers and staff members are incredibly accessible which leads many of us to think “transparent”. Removing historical data leaves a bad taste for some.

Rightly, or wrongly, we expect Xojo to be accessible and transparent and removing those items exposes that as patently false even though it’s never been true. They have zero obligation to be transparent nor do they have any obligation for the engineers to be accessible. They mostly do all those things because they feel like it and it happens to be good for business.

It’s my belief that this will quickly be forgotten. After all, who has it harmed? Not a single person. Xojo may have a little egg on their face but at least it shows that they are flexible. A stubborn regime would have stuck to their original announcement and weather the storm it generated.

Instead they reversed their decision. Removing the blog post and forum thread is questionable but, again, I feel it harms no one except those that feel inclined to be angry at change.

Time to move on and do some coding!

7 thoughts on “Xojo Freemium Model Continues

  1. No harm, no foul, right? Getting upset over that is almost as silly as getting upset over Apple’s choice to change the scrolling behavior in Terminal. It’s really not that big of deal and should probably be welcomed as good news. To me, it sure seems like there are more important issues to get upset about. Such as: “The IDE is STILL horribly broken in full screen mode, and has been ignored for several releases now.”, for example. So if you’re someone looking for a crusade to join, maybe consider that one instead. :p

    • Oh, Bob started that crusade 😉

      Xojo community reluctant to change? Not in the case of the “new IDE”!

  2. Business models of all kind should be well penetrated before making it public. Xojo Inc put themselves in trouble. As a customer I ask myself what’s going on. In a short time they have been changing the terms of their license model quite often.

    From my point of view it seems desperately all these changes. It appears as they try to squeeze as much $$$ possible from their customers. It’s poor management we see in action.

    Perhaps it’s time for Xojo Inc to replace the present manager with a new better business minded manager?

    • I don’t see that happening. Xojo is a privately held company owned almost entirely by one person. That person would have cede control of business decisions.

  3. Constantly changing license terms does not look good. Same is true of announcing a change of licensing and rolling it back like this.

    While I hope everything is OK. as I have invested a lot of time and effort into the product, It does bring into question how well the company is doing.

    I personally think that they made some significant missteps over the last few years but don’t really know how it has affected their sales if at all.

    Hopefully from here on I hope they make the right choices that will l help the product grow and prosper. I want Xojo to be around for a LONG time.

    • The term “constant” seems to be a little overboard here. Constant would mean at least one change every year and that’s certainly not the case.

      I’m curious on what you consider ‘significant’ missteps. The new IDE? What else?

  4. Constant change… There i mean the last few years.

    I would have to think back to details but how things are bundled have changed a few times, along with freemium, no freemium, freemium again.

    The change to everything separate including DB and console (never mind teh price changes on console), to DB being included in Desktop and console being pro only…

    Perhaps Constant is a bit overstated — but it feels like it has been churning for a good while now.

    Yes the new IDE for sure.

    But also how long they went went without releases while writing it… it really turned a lot of people off to keeping current. That was not managed well.

    I think the rigidity of the new framework is another misstep will come back to bit unless they change course somewhat. IMO it makes the product both less approachable for newbies and more work for those that know the old framework, and as I said before less fun. iOS did not mean the new framework had to be THAT different and that unforgiving. It almost seems like a rigorous academic teaching thing than a RAD environment.

    I think the change in renewal pricing will have a lot less people renewing (or renewing automatically because it was not too expensive) – particularly people like me (though I’m personally set for a few years as I extended my license before the changes).

    Speaking of iOS, given the competition, it seems that XPlatform in many people’s minds would be mobile Xplatform – iOS and android.

    As it was you could not use existing desktop or web code with iOS…

    Of course Swift being released about the same time did not help iOS. We know Xojo iOS will never be nearly as feature current/complete as Swift…. For desktop X-platform makes up for that, but with no Android, i’m not sure EVENTUAL compatibility with desktop code will make up for that. I also think the types of apps targeting mobile will be significantly different than desktop so i’m not sure how much will really be shared .

    I don’t expect them to do Android for a lot of reasons but given that mindset of mobile Xplatform a lot of people seem to have, and how late they were to iOS, I have to wonder if how that was handled was not a misstep.

    It also looks like they alienated a significant # of Windows based developers with Pro licenses who had no interest in iOS with the price increase.

    In significant ways they have neglected desktop (and some web features) for too long. Windows is obvious, but so is the point you make in Xojo should mean business… How long had PDF support been scheduled? That is needed both for Desktop and web .

    They are too small to do everything at once, so what they choose to do and how they manage it is VERY important.

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