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XE5 is officially out today, and the online store now has pricing for the new release. Being a scant 6 months since XE4 was released, with a $49 special upgrade price for XE3 Pro customers, I looked to see what special price might be on offer for XE5.

$499 is the answer.

On the face of it this looks to be an almighty rip off. But when we look again it is simply an acknowledgement that XE4 delivered nothing for anyone not interested in the Mobile Add-On and the bumping of the version to XE4 little more than cynical window dressing.

The $49 paid for XE4 is simply deducted from the regular upgrade price for XE5.

Not so much “Special” as “Staged”. As in, “Pay $49 now and the rest later”. But the question still remains as to what exactly a VCL developer is getting for their (total of) $550 upgrade from XE3 to XE5.

On the What’s New in XE5 doc wiki page there is scant evidence of anything for anyone not buying into the FireMonkey folly.

The answer would appear to be limited to some tweaks in the IDE, to the graphics data types (driven no doubt by the needs of the Smoking Ape rather than being of use to the VCL developer per se), a breaking change to the location of the TBitmap type, and a pretty basic “REST Client library“.

Of course, there are some bug fixes as well, some of which Larry Hengen has blogged about, and I’ll leave his blog post to expand on that. I should mention that Larry mentions Oxygene in a couple of places, with some points that I shall be picking up myself in a post tomorrow.

But back to the XE5 feature list.

The REST CLient Library – much like the entire FireMonkey approach to Android – appears to demonstrate a horrendous lack of awareness of the arena(s) in which Embarcadero are setting out their stall as evidenced by this staggering statement:

The framework focuses on JSON as the representation format. XML is not explicitly supported.

Embarcadero apparently seem entirely oblivious to the fact that REST is not a specification or a standard in the same way that SOAP is. JSON may be a favoured representation among implementers of REST services but XML is far from absent. Indeed, some REST services explicitly deal only in XML representations.

Similarly there is the later observation about OAuth1:

Please be aware that OAuth1 is a workflow including user interaction.

Um, no actually. It usually is, but there are REST web services out there using OAuth 1.0a which do not involve user interaction.

For the FireMonkey Followers

So there is not much to be had for your money in XE5 if you are a Windows VCL developer, but that probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise to anyone. The real news in the XE5 release is the addition of Android support (to the Mobile Add-On, for Pro users).

So how is the pricing looking there ?

Well, If you bought the Mobile Add-On with XE4 – barely 6 months ago – it was (iirc) a $499 cost. And so it remains for XE5.

You must now upgrade to the XE5 Mobile Add-On for $299. Of course, without XE5 itself it is presumably as much use as a chocolate teapot, so the true upgrade price of the XE5 Mobile Add-On is actually $848, comprising:

$549 for XE5 Pro – either as one payment or two ($49 + $499)
+ $299 for XE5 Mobile Add-On

And given that – as discussed above – there has been nothing really of value in XE5 Pro (or XE4) compared to XE3, unless you were a mobile developer, and even if you are a mobile developer, what you are buying in XE5 Pro is actually just the “unlock key” for the Mobile Add-On, it is difficult to escape the conclusion that Embarcadero are quietly succeeding in their aim of getting everyone on the Enterprise playing field, resorting to coercion where enticement has failed.

Add into the mix the FireDAC “Add-On” and the implications for the connectivity technology remaining in Pro and the writing is on the wall for Pro as a stand-alone SKU. I predict that it will be left to wither on the vine and will increasingly becoming nothing more than a pre-requisite for the real product, in the form of the “Add-Ons”.

You read it here first (unless someone else already wrote the same thing somewhere else which you already read). 🙂

Just about everywhere I look, the Delphi community is increasingly saying (by which I mean “more people are saying“, not that “everyone is saying more often“) in one way or another and to one extent or another, that exorbitant pricing is becoming an increasing problem and seen as a growing threat to the continued viability of Delphi to a wide range of existing users.

Whilst opinion differs as to the most effective solution to that, what cannot be argued is that Embarcadero themselves seemingly are intent on turning a deaf ear to these concerns and continuing to push the cost of Delphi in the exact opposite direction to that in which it needs – one way or another – to go.

23 thoughts on “Not so Special Upgrade Pricing for XE5”

  1. Eggs used to come in Small, Medium and Large. Then we got Extra-Large. We were told that there were “seasonal variations” in egg sizes, so the legally-defined classifications were marginally reduced. Strangely, when “small-egg” season finished, the classifications weren’t revised up again. Then we got Jumbo, and lately, Super-Jumbo.

    Pizze used to be Small, Medium, Large and Family. Now those that fit with plenty of room to spare in the oversized box are defined as “large.”

    Bread too used to arrive as small and large. Now it’s all measured in “g.” You used to be able to get a “half loaf” at three-quarters of the price, but that appears to have been a marketeer’s idea and it’s run its course.

    So, with Delphi. Used to have – my memory’s not clear – Student or Standard, Academic and Pro and then Enterprise and Architect. All following the same marketing pattern – withdraw the cheaper choice and gradually downgrade each level, but above all bump the price and claim “inflation.”

    It’s already been established that existing users aren’t really worried by the price – they want quality and speed, and are even prepared to contribute their efforts buckshee in pursuit of those aims.

    The message to EMBT from the users has been monotonous and unwavering for years. It’s also been ignored for years, maintaining the pre-EMBT policy. This morning, I received 10 QC updates in my inbox. They are arriving at an increasing pace. None appear to be related to iOS though.

    Does this mean that iOS is perfect, or that the natives are becoming increasingly restless?

  2. We just paid almost $700 to renew our Delphi DataAbstract subscription of Delphi RO and we did not get a single new feature. Only bug fixes, most of them regressions, and you are talking…. geesh.

    Good Lord, well, I’m one of those extremely happy users with FireMonkey and cross platform development and Delphi Android is a bless for us.

    Cheers, and dont damage your liver too much with Emb. Stay with Marc and stop looking to this very brown grass on this side of the street.

    1. First of all, I still have a Delphi license, bought and paid for, and I still use Delphi for desktop Windows application development. I have every right to be concerned at the condition of the grass, to hold an opinion on that and to express it. I don’t ask that you or anyone else agree with me or to silence your disagreement with it.

      As for DA and RO, I guess there is a difference between a stable, mature product and an evolving one. DA is probably the former. Oxygene the latter. So our experiences of RO differ in that regard. There is of course also a difference between a subscription and an upgrade license. One is paying for the continued use of something, the other is paying for something that is (or should be) substantively improved over what you already have.

      The bottom line is that Embarcadero don’t appear to have the resources they need to support all the things they are doing at the same time. For XE4 they worked on iOS. For XE5 they worked on Android. Next… ? Well, they themselves don’t seem too sure on that point.

      There is a saying about not spreading oneself too thinly. And another one about being a Jack of all trades and a Master of none. 😉

      But more crucially, the pattern speaks as much to a deliberate intent as it does to a shortfall of resources. What they tried to do with changes to the EULA – in which endeavour they had to back down in the face of strong criticism from among even their most stalwart defenders – they are instead achieving by other means without much in the way of opposition at all.

      As for RemObjects and Oxygene, there is a reason for my not having posted further yet on Oxygene that is very relevant to the point you make, and I shall be posting later specifically about that.

  3. At least someone has decided to blog about this, cheers. I was very disappointed when I saw the upgrade pricing, clearly EMB decided to milk this Android frenzy to it’s best potential, knowing full well that most of it’s users own the Pro license thus forcing us to cash out on a useless upgrade that brings absolutely nothing outside buying the Addon-pack. I’m done.

  4. I got Delphi 8 and Kylix with own pocket money! I think this is the same happening. I will wait until good-sense version comes.

  5. Mhhh … I was doing hard first to find the right soundtrack for this XE5 release. Thought Kiss – The Modern Delailah would be appropriate but afterwards I found a song by Delilah … And as the gold defines your pain.

    So we have. 2 nice Android figures (RAD Studio move over the Andrioid spartan – direction left) and good music provided by a french singer. That’s all about XE5.


    Enterprise SA is the option left in practice. EMB will not cut off those on Pro … I don’t expect any value added even in a distant future except of bug fixes in the 64bit Windows compiler. Even this we will have to observe…

  6. I think that the problem is with the “one size fits all” upgrade pricing. It benefits some customers but results inadequate for others. If you own a Delphi 2010 license you get plenty of new features for the upgrade, but if you are one of the loyal customers that owns the most recent version then is little value for the money.

  7. It’s interesting that (at present) Embarcadero can not see fit to release the mobile studio add-on as a single product, so to turn the screw that little bit more and push it as an add-on to a Win (and Mac) product that some of use may not use anymore.

    Upgrade pricing from Delphi XE2 Pro plus mobile add-on from their site is €1247.12 (incl vat), or RAD Studio XE2 (remember the €99 upgrade a while back) is €1284.01 (incl vat).

    They can keep their boutique pricing for their boutique product.


  8. I have been waiting since DXE, and am still waiting for a reason to spend my hard earned currency. On the bright side, as a licensee of RAD Studio XE, think what I have saved in upgrade fees! Or even SA fees, had I gone that route.

    I rooted around until I finally found the link to the feature matrix (is it just me, or does the site get less and less obvious with respect to finding links?) and I see little or nothing there to pique my interest. DXE works, and the IDE is stable enough, after you kill Error Insight, and turn off the debug view. CnPack makes things better, as does GExperts. Andy’s IDE Fix Pack is essential. The bottom line is that it is productive for me, and I know its numerous warts.

    If I take the plunge, all hell may break loose. How many hours will it cost to get past the new and exciting defects? And for this I pay them? Not so much.

    1. I am with you wmeyer. I have RAD Studio 2010, not that I really Studio, I have a single C++ DLL (for access to Windows SDK with no Delphi port) which I could probably easily convert to VS. I have been watching and waiting to see when an upgrade comes along that is worth my while. Every year I follow anxiously, getting a little excited when a release is to be announced but then end up disappointed, nothing worth my hard earned cash. I too am very concerned that:

      “If I take the plunge, all hell may break loose. How many hours will it cost to get past the new and exciting defects?”

      I would love to have a play with Android but it will cost me around $1500 to do that and at the moment I can’t justify that.

      1. It doesn’t have to cost you anything to play around with Android but some of your time. Just download the free tool set from Google. Fully mature, no bugs, well documented. You get to learn a new-old language called Java. it’s fun.

  9. If you have XE3 and don’t need/want mobile support, you will have to pay for the next version (XE6 or XE7) as a complete version as not as upgrade. They are selling 3 products in one and some little changes in VCL + a lot of changes in Android or iOS will cost you a lot of money.

  10. As an Australian with an XE2 Pro license and an interest in Android I am looking at $1500 to upgrade to XE5 or $100 for the well established Basic4Android. Embarcadero have seriously lost the plot!

  11. After purchasing Delphi XE4 Enterprise on end of July, now I would have to pay 1,379 Euro for an upgrade to Delphi XE5 Enterprise! This is outrageous!

    1. i just buy every second or third version, and i think a lot people do.
      So this is not a real problem for me.

  12. You can develop for iOS and Android on Xamarin for free. Seriously I am ecstatic I moved away from Delphi – with 3rd upgrade in a year – I’d effectively be working to pay Embarcadero!

  13. it is always wise to wait for two versions before upgrade.
    I am still looking for the one who succeed develop any iOS application, with DELPHI XE2 (As promissed to be iOS develop tool).
    The XE4, did deliver a way to do some iOS, but they splitted it to another 450$ addon module, so upgrade from XE2, was still 800$)
    Now, they want to do the same, from XE4 to XE5…
    I think embc, should change thier thinking, taking from each develop 50$/month for a sit, it will give them the same income, but we will get updates from within the IDE itself.
    the problem with all this, is not even the price, but the disrespect of EMBC, to upgrade require:
    3 days learning the new product, 10 days to make changes to old code so it will be compatible, 20 days to find compatible BPL with this version.. so instead of develop, we need to loose one month of work every 6 months upgrades…

    not to mention, that less people who use it, more expensive are salaries, and people to find…
    not to mention, that PASCAL is hard language, unlike PHP.. too much declaration to make things…

    i had it.. lost to much money over thier products…

  14. if you use freepascal / Lazarus its all for free, so you save a lot of time for complainin 😉

    unless its your hobby? 😉

    1. “Rebuttal” is not “complaint”. By all means take what people would like to spoon feed you if you like, but you might find a pinch of salt improves the flavour. 😉

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