I just got this from Tim Heuer, the MS Developer Evangelist for Phoenix, and I thought I'd pass it along directly. It is really big news, IMO. Any emphasis is mine.
It is not often that we receive direct communication to the community from Corporate VP's at the big ship... but yesterday we received one that contains great news regarding a situation of MS listening to the feedback of the community and reacting. Below are excerpts from a memo from Sanjay Parthasarathy (affectionately called "Sanjay P"), who is the Corporate VP of .NET strategy (translation: "the man").
We announced our product line and pricing in March, significantly ahead of product availability. What we heard from customers time and again was that they wanted Microsoft to provide as much advance notice as possible regarding product changes. Since the March announcement, we have received quite a bit of feedback about the SKU strategy, pricing and licensing.
[You] have been an invaluable source of input on these topics and we are taking action to respond to many of your suggestions.
We will place a limited version of Team Foundation Server in each edition of the Visual Studio Team System family (Architects, Developers and Testers). This version will be restricted to a maximum of five users and should serve the needs of smaller organizations. Teams that have a need for more users should still find that Team Foundation Server is significantly more cost effective than current source code control solutions and offers tremendous value through its role as the core of integration across all of the Team System.
To address the broader feedback on pricing, we have also finalized promotional pricing around Team Suite to enable current subscribers to more easily upgrade to the full Visual Studio product line. Going forward into 2005, MSDN Universal customers will have three choices:
» Universal subscribers that want all of the client functionality of Team System will be able to upgrade to Team Suite by paying just the incremental software assurance or renewal price for the duration of their agreement. In retail, this amounts to around $2,300 and for most customers this represents a 75% or more discount on the full price of Team Suite. Volume customers will, of course, pay less.
» Universal subscribers who want Team Edition for Software Architects, Team Edition for Software Developers, or Team Edition for Software Testers will be able to upgrade at no additional cost. Each of these "role Editions" includes the MSDN Premium Subscription.
» Universal subscribers who want the 2005 equivalent of MSDN Universal can simply choose Visual Studio 2005 Professional Edition with MSDN Premium Subscription and get the functional equivalent of MSDN Universal for about 15% less than what they paid today.
And people say Microsoft doesn't pay attention to feedback! This is great news for small .NET shops who want to develop like the pros. Now there's more reason than ever to join the Empower program for ISVs (if you're an ISV, of course).