Wednesday, February 02, 2011

No free lunch

Someone recently sent me this link and expressed their disdain with the approach that Red Gate has taken with the new pricing model of the .NET Reflector tool.  The public announcement is listed below...

Red Gate has announced that it will charge $35 for version 7 of .NET Reflector upon its release in early March. Version 7 will be sold as a perpetual license, with no time bomb or forced updates.

As many of you know, our original intention was to maintain .NET Reflector as a free tool. But, after two-and-a-half years of providing it without charge, we realized that we could not make the free model work. We know that this will cause pain for some people in the .NET community, and we apologize for the change in policy.

As a commercial company, we need to charge at least a nominal amount to keep .NET Reflector up-to-date and relevant. Without revenue coming in, we cannot dedicate a team of developers to ensure that Reflector remains a valuable part of .NET developers' toolboxes.

As always, your feedback is important to Red Gate, so please contribute any thoughts on this subject to our .NET Reflector forum.
I really don't have a problem with this though.  After all, the business model of offering a product for free until you have a large user base and then finally charging for it is really nothing new.  Support and maintenance for any decent product comes at a price.  Of course if it's the intellectual property of a brick-and-mortar software company, why shouldn't they have the write to charge a nominal price for their product?  It appears that the laws of Supply and Demand for this product have worked in Red Gate's favor.  Good for them.

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