Monday, 21 September 2009

Delphi Community Edition

I’ve just read Jolyon Smith’s post on a Delphi Community Edition. All good stuff, and something I have been clamouring for, for quite a while. The thing is, I don’t think it will happen. Embarcadero are in the business of making money, not giving things away. Incidentally, I think they’d probably make more money in the long run if they did give some things away, but playing the long game can be very difficult.

So here’s a suggestion which is a mix of both the long and short game. I’ve suggested something like this before. Here it is slightly refined.

  1. Create a Delphi Community Edition/Turbo Editon, call it what you want, but the most important thing is it’s price. Yep, it’s free, or perhaps even better make it $99. (For some reason people think free stuff equates to poor quality)
  2. Do all the things Jolyon suggested. Digital Watermarking for example.
  3. Create an app-store on the Embarcadero website, that can accept apps/components from the Community Edition. Embarcadero get a percentage of all sales. (and perhaps they have some utility to remove the watermark when sold through the store)

So users get their cheap edition, but they also get a reason to use it. Why do people put them selves through the hassle of learning Objective-C and Cocoa for the IPhone when it’s arguably easier to develop for Windows Mobile? There’s money in it, that’s why!

Embarcadero get their $99 for the IDE and their 5-10% cut of sales, but more importantly they get a new user. Someone who would have used C# Express Edition, but saw an opportunity. Apple do have the advantage of a closed system, so perhaps it wouldn’t work for Delphi, but Embarcadero would not lose a thing by trying. The developers who currently would buy Delphi Professional, are not the target, and if done right, would still want the Professional version. Your target is that new developer about to download C# Express.


ajasja said...

But if the Delphi user base grows (with a free community edition) then in the long run Embarcadero makes more money.

Also necessary is a student edition (I bought my copy of delphi 7 for 90 € in high school:)

Jamie I said...

>Embarcadero are in the business of making money, not giving things away.

An entirely true statement but Microsoft and the Eclipse project have changed the market. A basic free offering, backed up by a premium full featured version is now a standard requirement. Without both of those, you are no longer competitive.

Anonymous said...

No, this "special edition" thing is a bad idea. Don't do that. Just re-licence normal Delphi (Pro) under an additional "free for non-commercial use" licence. The full shebang, no limitations, just the different licence. Then offer it for torrent download off

MySQL and Qt were dual-licenced like this, and I don't recall it ever being mentioned that this hurt their sales. On the contrary, it created massive distribution.

If there were other benefits to purchasing a commercial version, such as membership of the support forums, that would be a good thing too.

Azidrain said...

Since Embarcadero took Delphi's destiny in its hands it was just tryng to find the best way to make money. Most of us receive any quantity of emails announcing the "new release"...wait man, I'm just trying the last one.

Despite competitors as MS Visual Studio are focusing on making better tools (and money), Embarcadero seems to be just focusing on making as many money as it can while Delphi is still allive.

I don't like a tool that becomes "obsolete" the next year...

Community edition is a great idea...only if Embarcardero choices to go the same way MySQL did: a "Commercial" version and a "Community" version...I doubt it.

Spook Murphy said...

Stick a fork in delphi, it's done.