For some time now we’ve offered “support and maintenance” as an option when purchasing our flagship Smart Device Framework product. If I recall correctly, the price is something like $240 for a year. In the entire time we’ve offered it I can probably count the number of sales of that option on one hand – it’s way less than 1% of the people who bought the extensions.
I had a call from a prospective customer asking about the feature and it clued me in to what most people’s thought process is. He asked “why should I buy maintenance for $240 when I can just buy each new version for $50. It’s less expensive to just re-buy.”
Ah, on the surface that may seem true, and like a good deal. But here’s the value in buying maintenance:
Right now we’re in the process of moving the SDF to Studio 2008. In the process we’re also moving to using Team Foundation Server as a back end and integrating unit testing and continuious integration. In this process we’re shaking out quite a few bugs (take a look at our online bug database to see what we’re up to). People with maintenance agreements can request the source for these fixes at any time. They also get source drops for all service packs (no one else does). Those without maintenance must wait until the next release or service pack to take advantage of these fixes.
There is one exception to this rule. We feel that if you’ve gone through the task of finding it and reporting it, we owe you so if you are the first to find and report a bug, we’ll provide you the fix immediately upon fixing it.