Community Pulse: Delphi and RAD Studio Prices from v1 till Now

Hi guys, we usually don’t post so often, but there are very hard fights on .public.non-technical battlefield about a yet-to-be released low-priced / free Delphi edition. There are very very very good posts by members of the team – Michael Swindell (the “Senior Vice President of Marketing and Product Management“) stands out by far – seconded by Nick and Allen. Be sure to check them out, (if you didn’t already) because Michael reveals many things which were till now unknown or misinterpreted…

In order to help that discussion and to make the things clearer, perhaps is better to present the Delphi and RAD Studio Prices in US Dollars from the first version till the last one.

Note: The data is taken from Tim del Chiaro’s blog

Tim’s comments:

We’ve generally tried to keep price increases to a minimum and prices have gone down for some products. The most notable increase was the increase in price of RAD Studio when we added Delphi Prism for .NET and added most of the functionality of ER/Studio (a $5,000 product) to RAD Studio Architect edition.

After we set the US dollar prices, there are other factors that affect the end pricing worldwide including fluctuations in exchange rates and how prices are set between dollars, Euros and other currencies.

First of all, it seems that this info isn’t known as it should. (Hence my meta-blogging). Tim, as one of the main Embarcadero’s Marketing Men (if not the Marketing Man) perhaps it should make his blog more known.

About prices: I will leave you to comment. 🙂 However, personally I would like to see a smaller price lowering and a quality increase (with all the things which are included in the word qualityincluding the feature matrix) rather than a bigger price lowering and keeping the quality somewhat the same, compared with the other offerings on the market. Of course, this doesn’t apply to the entry level edition which is another matter.

Happy ranting!

29 thoughts on “Community Pulse: Delphi and RAD Studio Prices from v1 till Now

  1. Are prices corrected for inflation? Otherwise the comparison is flawed. This time I agree with you, I’d prefer a better feature+quality/price ratio than simply a cheaper product without improving the ratio.
    I would follow two lines – make the Pro more competitive in the lower market, IMHO is absurd limiting MySQL/Interbase connectivity via dbExpress, especially since you can use something else easily – it just show Emb does not believe in its own technology. Touch support in the Pro is a good move, although just a few have the hardware already. A slight price reduction (say $799 or $899) would keep it away from the $1000 psychological threshold – especially since there are no printed manuals and media.
    Add real enterprise features to the Ent one. Enterprise apps are no longer C/S ones connecting to Oracle only – add a real remoting framework, support for message queues, LDAP/AD integration and so on, for example.
    If they had realeased the 64 bit compiler, they could have offered maybe a cheaper SKU without 64 bit support – VS Express can’t target 64 bit applications but given Delphi can’t either, they are just given the free VS an advantage.

    • ” IMHO is absurd limiting MySQL/Interbase connectivity via dbExpress, especially since you can use something else easily”
      Well, we cannot know for sure because we don’t know is DBX is really a selling point for them (considering the actual marketplace) but, yes, I would rather see a more liberal / aggressive pushing of the ‘new’ DBX in the lower SKUs.

      • Maybe it’s not a selling point, but gives a bad sensation to those buying the product, “heck, I got a PROfessional tool and I can’t connect to a remote DB with its own drivers???” – remote connectivity to supported database is nowadays given for granted, the dBase/Paradox/Access days are over, and not from yesterday. Also you would probably get more bug reports – unless that’s what they want to avoid 🙂
        Probably adding features like VCS integration and other “teamwork” functionalites, advanced debugging features and profiling, etc. would help to distinguish from a real “Pro” version, and a lower-end “Personal” version. Hobbyist and students should not have a real need for them – while professional developers may welcome them and feel the “added value” in everyday operations. At that point probably a $899/$999 price tag for the Pro and a $399/$499 for the Personal (+ academic editions, and maybe adding some more limitations too like limited db connectivity) could work. A free version I guess should be so heavily limited many would not like it at all.
        Also they should drop the Architect if they can’t deliver a consistent value in it – till now the added value changed with every release – I won’t buy at that price something that include something that will disappear a release later, or overlap tools I already have.

  2. It would be very nice to have a Pro version at $499. Especially since there is nothing to match the FREE express editions of Microsoft’s products. This would help rejuvenate interest in Delphi.

  3. Turbo pro is missed on the 1st graph, while exists in legend. I digged into reseller prices (in Russia) and found that:

    2006 november – $399
    2007 april – $399
    2007 july – $250 (!!!) special discount
    2007 september – $399
    2008 march – $399

  4. Still overpriced all these years later. I agree with the above comment about the $500 Delphi Pro version. Poor marketing is the main reason Delphi is a niche product rather than one that is competitive to the other two major development environments (Java and dotNet).

    • It seems that the marketing department is quite active but they’re focusing on the places where Delphi doesn’t exist. Personally, I believe them (in fact the info comes from Allen Bauer mostly) because I see these days (ok, weeks) enough new users on stackOverflow and elsewhere (you can spot them from the nature of their questions).

  5. Looking at the prices we have to pay here in the Netherlands it would be great if they decided to cut out the local middleman like our Bob Swarts. Most customers don’t need their ‘services’. That way they could lower the prices and still increase their profit margin.

    A little off topic but I’m curious about the number of Delphi ‘classic’ users taking advantage of the now or never limited time upgrade offer.

    • “That way they could lower the prices and still increase their profit margin.”
      Yes, of course I understand how you think. But OTOH, AFAIK they try to keep the resellers in order to have a presence in the area. I think that this thing boils down to the man: If the reseller makes noise (and I mean here not only support, of course, but promoting, community management etc.) then it can be a very effective thing. Otherwise, of course, it will be just a money eater.

      • We have several middleman here in the Netherlands. If you look at what they offer for the list price it is some pre-sale advise (what version to buy) and you can probably call them when you have a problem installing the product on your machine. That’s all you get for their middleman fee! There is no real value added. For in-depth advice / workshops, etc. they charge you by the hour. I can buy Visual Studio directly from Microsoft, no middleman involved. Using dealers is like buying a CD at you local brick and mortar shop.

  6. >The data is taken from Tim del Chiaro’s blog
    sorry for offtop, but if you can contact him, tell him please, that trying to comment his blog fails for any verification method and in any browser (IE8, FF 3.5, Chrome), because word verification block is clipped at the bottom, hiding half of the verification word, and input for the word completely.
    Maybe, he is wondering why there are no comments ? 🙂

  7. Ah, statistics, the great confuser of issues. Delphi 1 cost me 300$ *AND* it came with an awesome set of manuals. D2 upgrade cost 200$ and it ALSO came with a great set of manuals.

    D3 was a definite change in that trend.

    And now, you are lucky if you can get a disk.

    More over, the development effort for D1 and D2 were of necessity larger than following releases -some of which appeared more in the nature of incremental improvements or bug patches that we should have gotten for free (D2005 was a disaster!)

    So, deliverables shrunk, required development efforts appeared to shrink and yet the cost of the product continued to spiral upward.

    I also note a complete lack of VisualStudio’s Express AND standard lines on the chart.

    There is a simple chart leaves out.

    • Well, Clinton, I think that you’re right except the last two versions where the prices were kept the “same” (in fact lower because of inflation) but the development efforts for D2009 / D2010 were bigger. Mind you I was a Beta Tester on D2010 and I saw how hard is sometimes to ensure (and improve) the quality of a product, beyond of adding new features. And no, I’m not affiliated with them in any way and, also, I wasn’t at all a “me too” with Embarcadero. But we must recognize some things.

      • I would agree that the efforts to make the next version of Delphi cross-platform are roughly on par with the technical difficulties to make Delphi a 32 bit compiler as happened in D2 (much of the worst of the work was done with Kylix, and clearly based on VCL source code, Kylix has been kept up internally to some degree even if it has not been an available product).

        I’m less sure about D2009 – sure it signal the poorly designed move to Unicode – but the work investment to get unicode strings working was clearly minimal. Mostly it was about finding where they broke their own code. Since the IDE and compiler are not overly complicated, they CLEARLY had fairly few edge cases. I would have been more comfortable calling this a major change if it had been done correctly – which would have saved the rest of us with true edge cases a HUGE pile of work. Instead, we have RTL functions with names that start with “Ansi” that only process unicodestrings and not AnsiStrings at all to prove my point.

        As for the quality effort that went into D2010 – this harkens back to my point about the line that frequently gets blured between bug fixes and major releases. Since when was stability supposed to be a “new feature”?

        There is a LOT of room here to discuss whether the right balance between price and return is truely being met. As for why the price has not continued to swell – I’m betting that it has more to do with trying to keep the comparitively few customers they have not utterly alienated.

        Yes, I have a fairly negative attitude about the process as it has occured up to today. I do recognize that the product IS improving, but I still feel that the current price remains over inflated, and as such is actually harming the product. It prevents adoption by new programmers and hobbiests (a group that has been important to TurboPascal and Delphi at vital points in the past) AND it provides overwhelmingly strong incentive to consider alternate products.

        If I was to restart my career today, I would definitely not even look at Delphi IF I even knew it was an available option – I’ll bet many of you would be the same . This is a fact that Embarcadero has to accept and face head on, or it will run to its inevitable conclusion. Price is a major part of that problem.

        I think I could accept the price if Delphi was marketed more effectively, certainly with a focus to students and hobbiests (who do not have 1000$ for a compiler) and IT management.

        I would like a career with Delphi to involve more than car parts, you know what I mean?

  8. Too bad prices don’t reflect quality, after D7 how many times we got previews instead of features. Wish next version of Delphi will improve quality and remove all those incomplete feature that are most of the time ignore or usless.

  9. As another reference point, many companies are using the downturn to vacuum in older users.

    Example: Microsoft now have a special offer all their Priced products, for the upgrade price, from any other products.

    They do not really care what you were using before, and there is no expiry date mentioned. Microsoft seem to have the biggest price changes, in the support columns.

    That seems reasonable, as someone whose corporate revenue depends on leading edge tools, will pay for that, but there are shiploads of students and community service / Web publishing type users, who give _very_ important language exposure, that Microsoft covers nicely, whilst Embarcadero is simply leaving to Lazarus.

      • Microsoft doesn’t actually care. What they care about is that you use a compiler targeted for their platform. They are willing to toss piles of money at developer tools for Windows, even run at a loss because those tools let them build the Windows OS and let others build a huge library of applications for Windows.

        It is why I wished Microsoft had bought CodeGear & Delphi. MS doesn’t really care what language you use – only that your application runs on Windows and provides further value to their OS simply by existing.

        • ” MS doesn’t really care what language you use – only that your application runs on Windows”

          You’re wrong. MS cares you use their whole expensive stack – from Windows to SQL Server to SharePoint to Exchage to Office to whatever they need to sell you that moment. If Delphi was bought by MS, it would have lost a lot of freedom.

  10. It’s not sufficient just to compare the price of the product with itself over time. It’s also the comparison with what else is in the market. There’s a lot more good competition out there now, many of which are free or cheaper than Delphi. So the cost-benefit of Delphi is not quite the slam dunk it used to be.

  11. MSDN subscription is a model for Embarcadero to follow. I will get my VS2010 for free, as a part of the deal, with all Microsoft software that comes along with it.
    Look at Developer Express that used to be Delphi only and now their main business is Microsoft development tools. We hardy see new components coming out from them and we are still holding to Delphi (which is the best). But customers are beginning to ask some embarrassing questions, wanting their systems to be developed in a popular development tool.
    Many of my colleagues have already defected to VS and many are on their way. One way to stop it is to come with a better pricing system that can compete with MS VS pricing.


    • About DevExpress: They went with Microsoft because Delphi was static so many years and they where #1 on this market. So, no point to enhance… what? …and for what? But they are definitely determined to advance on the Delphi market. They even had a ‘call for opinions’ for the new releases which they plan in 2010 – see their blogs.

  12. I have held both MS Line and Borland/Codegear/Embarcadero over the years from the DOS times on. Originally I have been using basic and never really understood why some really uses this >>Pascal < Prof 129 EUR, Enterprise 369 EUR, Architect 489 EUR – 19% VAT included and usually in the US 1 EUR equals 1 Dollar … when looking at the pices (I didn’t find this in the US online store).

    –> This is still an attractive entry level price … afik with the opportunity to upgrade. And it is always possible to upgrade to a higher edtion of products. (The problem is more, what you get with the Enterprise version or Architect and how one can make use of it).

    *) I like this most – this is everlasting loyality. // Die with you boots on and the last background compile finishes when your body hits the ground … if you fall fast enough.

    compared to VS
    What people need is the VS Standard version … there are litte inconveniences but all in all this can be enough and this price is effordable for all. And this is what the naked delphi without indy… compares too.
    –> For one or 2 men Delph Prof. is priced acceptable.

    Team Licencing:
    This is the real problem in pricing. Microsoft has programs where whole companies get the full product range at about 3K dollar a year and have to do some of the certifications … MSDN + Technet … (you must be a partner for this). Nearly impossible to compete … and in the early beginning they have programs for startups (Empower) … 300 to 400 EUR for MSDN and beyond for one or two years.

    What I fear is that all this pricing discussions end at the point (we have examples in Austria too) when developments are done via offshores … old game (like 10 years ago) for EUR 20 per hour. This is less than the cost for a programmer inhouse … and I’m not sure if nowadays hypes have the origin a lot more in “this corner” and … for me it somehow clear that the advantage is still the knowledge of the customers information model or the domain someones product is built for but in this case the decision for a development environment is not on the price of the IDE … I personally do not see one product alone, I see the whole Embarcadero product suite and this makes on effective.


  13. And if you compare the prices of compilers from the beginning of 70s or 80s you would find out that Delphi is dead cheap! Comparing prices like this is comparing oranges to apples. Ten years ago there wasn’t good free alternatives for Delphi. In 2010 several there are great free java (+eclipse), great free VS and a several other great free tools. So why would one use Delphi?! Especially if you know that you have to pay every year for bugfixes (they call them new versions…) and even then there are bugs that haven’t been fixed since Delphi 6-7 (almost 10 years!).
    I agree it’s not all about price, but about value/price ratio. Delphi-s value/price must be very good to compete with free tools. It isn’t enough if Delphi is same level as for example VS.

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