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An open letter to MAXON CEO McGavran

Do you feel Maxon is taking an Adobe route?  

70 members have voted

This poll is closed to new votes
  1. 1. Do you feel Maxon is taking an Adobe route?

    • Yes
      59
    • No
      11


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3 hours ago, Adrien said:

I honestly doubt it. New features cannot be added during a cycle according to MAXON. You need to wait for the next release, most likely in 1 year. All you will get until then are minor fixes. 

Personally I think that's BS and just a convenient excuse. The Foundry has no problem putting out 3 versions / updates of Modo each year and I pay an annual maintenance.

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49 minutes ago, 3DKiwi said:

Personally I think that's BS and just a convenient excuse. The Foundry has no problem putting out 3 versions / updates of Modo each year and I pay an annual maintenance.

Could it be because MAXON is a German company? It may have something to do with the European legislation and the European competition law, that is extremely restrictive. 

Or I’m just plain wrong and they simply don’t care...

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54 minutes ago, 3DKiwi said:

Personally I think that's BS and just a convenient excuse. The Foundry has no problem putting out 3 versions / updates of Modo each year and I pay an annual maintenance.

Same thing with Autodesk. They have around 3 major point releases each years and they usually have more new features than a whole release from MAXON. Just check Maya 2019.2 which included the new Bifrost visual programming language. 

 

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3 hours ago, hikarubr said:

Same thing with Autodesk. They have around 3 major point releases each years and they usually have more new features than a whole release from MAXON. Just check Maya 2019.2 which included the new Bifrost visual programming language. 

 

Autodesk is subscription only though right? The issue with MAXON is to do with Perpetual licences. Every feature that gets released needs to be matched against sales. So you either be a subscriber and pay during the year and get updates, or you go perpetual and get all the combined updates when you pay.

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3 hours ago, kbar said:

Autodesk is subscription only though right? The issue with MAXON is to do with Perpetual licences. Every feature that gets released needs to be matched against sales. So you either be a subscriber and pay during the year and get updates, or you go perpetual and get all the combined updates when you pay.

 

Yeah, but  Autodesk did these substantial releases even before they went with subscriptions. 

I love Cinema 4D but since I started using it (with R12, some months before R13 was released) I couldn't help noticing how much more robust Maya releases are. 

You would need three Cinema 4D releases to reach a similar number of new features of just one Maya release. 

 

By the way, i don't wanna start a flame war of Maya vs Cinema 4D, especially because I use both professionally and like both.

But I hope that MAXON starts releasing substantial new features like Autodesk now that they are trying to emulate them. 

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On 9/14/2019 at 7:56 PM, 3D-Pangel said:

So far, someone from MAXON will gladly chime in to explain some aspect of the subscription plan.  They will also chime in to defend the position that Prime MSA holders can get a Studio R21 license via their last MSA purchase for about 1/3 of what Studio users have to pay ($250 vs. $720).  Their defense though again gravitates towards subscriptions: "that is why Studio users can get two years of subscriptions for a 20% discount".  But what took literally a ton of emails to sort out was that if you should ever take that offer in the future, they will deactivate your perpetual licenses - in essence locking you into subscriptions.  They were very shady in divulging that information and it took some robust dialogue and painfully direct questions to get them to finally answer it.

 

Now, where MAXON is COMPLETELY silent is defending why we should accept a 50% increase in renewing their annual perpetual license over what they paid for via the MSA program.  Not one word of explanation or spin as to how this is in our best interests.  Maybe they can say "well we canceled the MSA program" and that is the price of an upgrade without the MSA program.  So we really didn't raise prices, we just cancelled  a program.  

 

But then defend this:  WHY DID YOU CANCEL THE MSA PROGRAM? 

 

Well, there is no defense.  The MSA program was cancelled because they want people dependent on paying annual subscriptions for the simple reason that a companies "appearance" of value increases with a re-occurring revenue stream.   It is a great selling point during quarterly earnings reports to say that subscription revenue growth is increasing  and makes up a large portion of their total revenue.  So in Nemetsheck's and MAXON's eyes, their thinking is "hey, we will make the annual cost of a subscription the same as the old MSA price so users will eagerly switch over of a subscription model.  While it won't increase revenue (this year), changing the source of that revenue to re-occurring revenue is a great message to our shareholders."

 

So again, the benefit is all MAXON and there is no way anyone from MAXON can defend this position on a community forum in any way that users will accept.  Shareholders love it, but we don't because it provides us no value -- so why defend it.   They tried to put lipstick on this pig by selling it as "3D for the whole world".  No.  It is "higher stock price for Nemetschek" and don't ever forget that.

 

Again, the only thing they will listen to is a drop in revenue beyond what they forecasted.   Right now, we are all exercising our last MSA purchases.  The true test will come with what we do with R22.  Do we convert to subscription?  Do we pay the higher perpetual costs?  Do we go somewhere else?  That is why R22 will be a critical for both MAXON and for us as well.

 

And don't think for a second that subscription prices will remain the same over time.  Trust me, once they have coerced a large portion of their user base to subscriptions, those prices will rise.  Maybe not in huge jumps, but they will steadily go up.  And now you are really stuck.  There are no alternatives but to pay at that point.  

 

While I love the fact that we have this great participation from Mr. McGarvan in this discussion, our complaints will make no difference and will generate no discussion from MAXON.

 

Sitting on our wallets is the only voice we have.

 

Dave

If someone skips couple versions and the upgrade cost remains around 1000 EUR, then I have no problems with the perpetual model. 

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To answer a few questions.   If you sell perpetual software with out a subscription or maintanence you can't by US law release brand new functionality.   Feel free to read all the details by researching Sarbanes-Oxley law.  Came out after Enron.  So if you want to continuously offer new stuff you need to recognize the revenue over time in specific ways.   It isn't an excuse it is a very very important thing to get correct in your accounting.  That is why people talk about subscriptions as a way to give developers more flexibility to release stuff when it is done.

 

Now, relative to Nodes and Redshift.  We have a Nodes SDK ready that we have in r21 and have given to multiple developers, it won't be generally available for some time.  Redshift has it working but there are some bugs they want fixed before they release it so it works better.   We are working on fixing those bugs and then we will release it, current plan is soonish.

 

Cheers

Dave

 

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On 9/17/2019 at 5:03 PM, Frokito said:

If someone skips couple versions and the upgrade cost remains around 1000 EUR, then I have no problems with the perpetual model. 

What you suggested is the modo model ( all perpetual license upgrades are the same cost regardless of your past version).   Not sure how this benefits MAXON but I do agree that it would be a great thing to have.  But then again so wouldn't indie licenses, or bringing back the MSA.  Unfortunately, while great for us, they are not great for MAXON and I really don't think there will be any movement on this as everything being done today is really about benefiting MAXON.    

 

The only thing that will move the needle in this discussion is to propose "win-win" scenarios.  I use the term "win-win" because they have to satisfy both MAXON and  the user.  I recognize that MAXON needs to make money, change their revenue model to make shareholders happy, etc.  But what saddens me is that it all just can't be about them to be sustainable.  So some things to consider:

 

  1. True monthly billing for subscription licenses.  This has already been discussed.  Other companies do it, not sure why MAXON cannot do it.  No word from MAXON either on this as well.
  2. Rent to own model.  Convert you subscription license to a perpetual license.  Right now, the conversion is only from perpetual to subscription and again for the reasons discussed before in that MAXON wants you to be on subscription models going forward.  What would be interesting is the option to  convert past subscription licenses to perpetual licenses at a substantially discounted rate.    The issue with subscription licenses for most is "I don't like the possibility of losing access to my files when I stop subscribing".    So imagine this:  You are an R21 subscription license holder.   MAXON is now releasing R22 and for extra $XXX, you can get R21 perpetual license at the time R22 is released.   The cost would need to be much LESS than the difference between the R21 perpetual and subscription licenses at the time R21 was released because you are not dealing with the current version which is now R22 (which in this example would be $950 - $720 or $230).   This is a win-win to me.  It removes the user's concern about losing access and therefore makes subscriptions much more acceptable to users (thereby increasing subscription adoption rates which is a huge plus for MAXON).  It also has the added benefit of another revenue stream for MAXON over their subscription plan while STILL preserving their current subscription user base.  You could also say that this offer IS ONLY available to users who 1) were subscription license holders for R21 AND 2) sign up for an R22 subscription as well (thereby keeping people on the subscription program).

If both 1 and 2 were adopted then I would be extremely happy.  Imagine now being able to use C4D for $60 a month - PAID MONTHLY - and then, for say an additional $150 a year, convert that past subscription licenses to a perpetual license when the next version is released.  MAXON get's both subscription users AND additional revenue.  I get to hold onto my perpetual licenses but don't have to fork over $950 every September to do so.   True that MAXON could stick to their guns and say "but we want $950 rather than (12 x $60 + $150)  $870 dollars for perpetual license upgrade".   But then again, you also want a re-occurring revenue stream more than you want perpetual licenses.  In fact, your whole perpetual license cost is designed to motivate us towards a subscription plan.  Subscriptions and the re-occurring revenue that goes with it is what you want more than anything else. 

 

Adopting both 1 and 2 as suggested above motivates me better to jump on subscriptions than a high perpetual license upgrade cost.  It still allows me access to my files should I decide to drop out of the subscription, which is a big fear to me and others as well.  But when you only have to pay $60 a month (paid monthly) and an additional $150 a year (paid annually) to keep my perpetual license, I am  extremely motivated to stick with the subscription plan.   If it motivates others as well, please speak up.

 

Now that is true win-win scenario and I would love to hear Mr. McGarvan's thoughts on this proposal.  In fact, does this proposal have a significant downside to anyone?

 

Dave

 

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#1 is a bookkeeping nightmare, possible, but a huge load of work hat needs quite a long time to prepare. Personally i hope we can offer this at some point, but i wouldn’t hold my breath.

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1 hour ago, srek said:

#1 is a bookkeeping nightmare, possible, but a huge load of work hat needs quite a long time to prepare. Personally i hope we can offer this at some point, but i wouldn’t hold my breath.

Probably no more work than setting up the whole licensing maintenance system and I view this a critical to subscription adoption rates and therefore critical to MAXON - without it, all previous work to realize this new business model is not a successful.  So MAXON better start thinking differently and stop hiding behind accounting rules to do what needs to be done for your own future success.   If it is EU laws that hamper  you, there are work-a-rounds (create BV entities in other countries and manage the billing from there, etc).   

 

Geeze....I thought you people were innovative!  You made MoGraph after all!!!!

 

Your competitors do it so why can't you?  Plus, you already have worked out the massively complex labyrinth off accounting rules when you offered the $89 per month license plan.  So what is the barrier to applying those same accounting practices to the $60/month plan billed annually?    Do you mean to tell me that if someone decided to do the $89 monthly plan for 12 consecutive months it would bring MAXON's financial infrastructure crashing down upon you?  I don't think so.

 

Not quite following you on the logic of that argument.  It is imperative to your success...so you better do it.

 

Dave

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1 hour ago, srek said:

#1 is a bookkeeping nightmare, possible, but a huge load of work hat needs quite a long time to prepare. Personally i hope we can offer this at some point, but i wouldn’t hold my breath.

 

Oh cmon now. Any other company in this space that has subscription licensing does it, so you can do it too. You wouldn't be the first one to do it, and won't be the last one.

You know what's a nightmare as well? Forking over 750€ in one batch to get access to the software, which is not even perpetual, under the disguise of "monthly" payment. Because it isn't. It comes DOWN to XY€ per month, but it's not PAID that way. 750€ in one batch is way harder to swallow than just that one two figures number every month. This is one of the reasons why people finance stuff instead of buying it all at once, even if it costs a little more.

It's seriously disheartening what's happening right now. I love C4D and the community, and I like Maxons high quality, stable software output. I've been using it for over 10 years without a second of feeling like I'm not getting what I'm paying for. But this one little change has change that. I was seriously excited that you finally offer a subscription service, and then I saw that the "monthly" 80€ price is not monthly at all.

Please don't see this as a personal attack, because it is not. And I love that you guys communicate with us here on the same level but again, as a customer, I don't care what a bookkeeping nightmare this would be, because others have been doing it for years and they didn't go bankrupt from having a couple more accountants.

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5 hours ago, srek said:

#1 is a bookkeeping nightmare, possible, but a huge load of work hat needs quite a long time to prepare. Personally i hope we can offer this at some point, but i wouldn’t hold my breath.

This answer makes no sense. MAXON already has a monthly plan for $94.99. Why would a monthly plan of $59.99 be any different?

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