Monday, February 13, 2006 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Lifetime Free Upgrades

Slava Karpenko advises developers not to offer them, and:

If you’re a user, sure, free upgrades for life sound great, but come to think of it—if a certain software title promises you that, expect the maker to exit the business or abandon that particular product sooner or later. They simply can’t support themselves and justify adding features when they know they will never get that additional cash in. So why bother making a 2.0 if you know all the hundreds of hours of your hard work are going to be not paid off? I know too many examples of that to count.

It’s true. I don’t like it when I’m asked to upgrade every few months or even once a year, but on the other hand if a product claims to include free upgrades forever I also tend to stay away. My own products have gotten lots of free updates since they were introduced. The 2.0 upgrades were free as a thank-you to the early adopters and because it hadn’t been that long since 1.0. The 3.0 versions will be paid upgrades, however I plan to be very generous about giving free upgrades to people who bought 2.x recently. The month or two that developers often go back isn’t enough, in my opinion. But the 15 or so months that the Path Finder folks used is too much, except in that case—they were keeping a specific promise. I think the right number is somewhere between six months and a year.

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