Borderline Scamming being done by software companies

The latest craze from software vendors to companies is to charge for each and every core a machine has regardless of whether or not you’re going to use it.

Get this, if you want to buy a production license for your database/middleware/web server, the vendor (starts with an “S”) wants you to send them the hardware specs of the box.  If you tell them it is a Dell superduper server with 8 quad core CPUs and 96GBytes of RAM but you only will be using a single core for the database and devoting the rest to the middleware/webserver, you STILL have to pay the vendor for all 32 cores (8 CPUs X 4 cores).  Your software license costs is now 32 times MORE what you should have to pay IMHO.

Lots of software companies are now doing this anti-customer practice just to beef up their short term revenues.

What makes them think that you won’t go to another vendor?

  1. Their competitors are probably doing the same sales tactic
  2. They have you by the family jewels, vendor lock in, and it will cost you far too much $$$ to migrate
  3. They think that you’re too stupid and/or timid to call their bluff
  4. FUD that is spread by well meaning and well known folk that don’t know jack about the open source alternatives

Who the hell do they think they are?

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22 Replies to “Borderline Scamming being done by software companies”

  1. No kidding! I’m in the midst of renewing a support agreement with said company and it’s unreal how difficult it is. We’re trying to make some changes to update our agreement for what we actually need, and I got the same pitch about CPU licensing. “Everyone’s moving to CPU based licensing…blah blah”. I eventually told them no, and they backed off, but why does it have to be *so* difficult?!

  2. “WTF!? That’s like charging you road tax for every wheel on your car!”

    Well toll booths charge more money for 18 wheelers rather than a 4 wheel sadan. Just playing devil’s advocate….

  3. It looks like there’s a fortune waiting for the first developer to come up with a good set of migration tools that would painlessly and automatically convert those proprietary databases to some FOSS system.

    It would be really nice if salesmen for those proprietary systems started hearing “Yes, you system actually works a little better than the FOSS system we’re considering, but that system has one feature that you can’t deliver: it won’t suddenly increase in price after we’ve been on it for a few years.”

  4. “WTF!? That’s like charging you road tax for every wheel on your car!”

    “Well toll booths charge more money for 18 wheelers rather than a 4 wheel sadan. Just playing devil’s advocate….”

    Well they more charge extra for each additional axle beyond two (4 wheels). Now I’m really playing devil’s advocate.

  5. “WTF!? That’s like charging you road tax for every wheel on your car!”

    “Well toll booths charge more money for 18 wheelers rather than a 4 wheel sadan. Just playing devil’s advocate….”

    Well they more charge extra for each additional axle beyond two (4 wheels). Now I’m really playing devil’s advocate.

    The extra charge for additional wheels is because of the weight put on the road, that will eventually cause maintenance problems for the highway department. What the software vendors are doing is like charging for the number of cylinders in your engine. Just because I have more power, I’m still using the same road! NOT playing the devils advocate, just being the devil.

  6. Some vendors don’t have separate pricing for virtual servers, they want to know the specs of the physical hardware. An inadvertent slip of the tongue of a manager or whomever is actually purchasing the software can cost you major $$$.

  7. Just one word. Linux.
    If you don’t buy these guys software, they will have to change or die. Open source is gonna kill them if they keep hitting customers like that. Rather surprising that they think short-term profits are more important than corporate survival – IMHO

  8. Management in big corporations are often all for Linux, *IF* they can run Oracle or some other *enterprise* software on it. Mention PostgreSQL or MySQL, you will likely get laughed at by some PHB.

    To be honest I prefer PostgreSQL over any other DBMS. Just a personal preference.

  9. And yet another reason to pirate things. It’s already free and without DRM to pirate things, do they really want to keep adding to the list?

  10. buy a desktop pc and run their software on there. even if your supercomputer crashes you will still be able to use your desktop pc, why do you use serversystems anyway? i never saw the sense in that.

  11. Tommy,

    Your analogy isn’t quite apples-to-apples… imagine if a tow truck driver came through a toll both and was charged for twice as many axles as they had, simply because they “could conceivably” have that many. That’s a better analogy here.

    This policy would really suck balls on some of the IBM servers with unlockable hardware; do you have to pay for the maximum spec of the system in license costs, even if you haven’t “unlocked” that many cores?

  12. Enterprise software pricing is disgusting period.

    You have more than 5 employees and suddenly they think you are flush with cash.

    Budgets are tight. It’s a recession, damnit.

  13. I agree Sam. I know of many companies, large & small, that are honestly looking at using open source software.

    For example, how many companies really need to run Oracle, Sybase or Microsoft SQL Server? I’m willing to bet that MySQL or PostgreSQL will handle 90% or more of their database needs.. and there is no license fees! For those companies that want enterprise support, it is available for them too.

  14. One thing so many companies never seem to learn is, “It’s always cheaper to make a customer happy than it is to make him angry.” They may improve their bottom line in the short term, but it will eventually come back to haunt them. Microsoft is a great example. In the 80’s they were king. Almost everyone loved them and trusted them. But their short-sighted policies of “profit above all” and releasing bloated bug-ridden software has led to more and more people seeking alternatives to MS.

    Look at all the Open-Source programs available. Even alternate OS solutions like Linux are gaining ground. The “Hackintosh” movement may be comparatively tiny, but it’s also hard to measure.

    Even people that are retaining MS products no longer hold the company in reverence and trust.

    That leads us to the other basic of customer satisfaction. “The quality of any product or service is exactly what the customer says it is.” MS doesn’t seem to understand that, either.

  15. Unfortunately, it’s a double-edged sword. The number of servers in an environment is being cut down by 2/3 or more. The companies need to find a way to recover the lost money…so they are finding themselves charging by cores instead. There are some inequities, but the companies are trying to be fair…on average, companies are being charged about the same in cores that they used to pay in servers.

  16. I installed some software for work a couple of years ago, which was fully paid for and they gave me a license key over the phone to register/activate it. Later, we had a problem with the work PC (hard drive failure) and we tried to re-install this software, but I need the activation code from the company in Detroit again. They are telling me that I need to pay them money or they wont let me install it. Is such a software licensing policy OK or a possible scam now? Thanks.

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