Wednesday, January 18, 2006

What about Personal and Trial editions of Delphi 2006?

Marco brought up a sometimes hot topic on his blog about Delphi Trial and Personal editions.  His first line “Delphi has been out from some time,” is a little interesting to me... Hmmm... Delphi/BDS 2006 was RTM'd (that's Released To Manufacturing) only about two months ago, and it has only been GA (Generally Available... another sales/marketing term) for only about a month.  Update 1 for the C++Builder portions has been around for only a month as well.  In my mind it is a little too soon to be clamouring for these editions.  If you've watched this pattern in past releases it should be quite clear as to our normal time-line for releasing additional product editions in different types of packaging.  There are very good reasons why it is done this way.

Let's examine the trial edition first.  What is its purpose?  I think we'd all agree that it is a sales and marketing tool designed to allow prospective customers to “kick the tires” and to evaluate the product in order to decide whether or not they want to actually purchase it.  It is not there so that some group of nefarious individuals can hack at it to try and bypass all the “trial-ness” in order to get a non-time-limited version of the product.  Then there is the obvious next question, “If that is the case, why not have the trial available as early as possible?”  Now this is both a mix of my opinion and actual facts... first of all, for my Capitalistic/free market side it is simply a matter of economics.  If we released a trial edition too soon after a product release, we stand a very good chance that many of the undecided early adopters would delay their purchasing descisions under the guise of “evaluating the product.”  So instead of building up product demand in anticipation of the product release to the point that there are a lot of early orders ready to go on the RTM date, we risk a very soft start to the product release.  Nothing generates excitement and attention to a product quite like pent-up demand.

Another more pragmatic reason to delaying the release of a trial is to simply allow the real product to “bake“ out in customer's hands in order to guage its response.  This is also so that we can get a very wide range of product feedback which would drive our descisions about whether or not a product update is critically needed.  So from a sales/marketing perspective you always want to “put your best foot forward.“  One way to do that is to base your trial edition on some post-RTM product update.

Now what about the “Personal“ or sometimes referred to as “Standard“ editions?  These are the so-called economy/hobbiest editions.  Again, these are typically at a lower price-point or even sometimes free as part of book or magazine bundles.  So in a real sense they are treated very similar to a trial edition.  From a purely economic standpoint, it makes sense to delay or limit the availablility of such editions, at least early in a product release cycle.

Now I want to be perfectly crystal clear here.  We (Borland) do not deny nor ignore the benefits gained by giving our customers and potential customers more choices to purchase the product or for them to evaluate it.  Both of the above editions are extremely important to the overall success of Delphi/BDS during the product release cycle.  Of course I cannot make any kind of announcements as to when and if a trial or personal edition will be available.  These editions are not only products but are also sales/marketing tools that need to be carefully and methodically deployed at a time we feel they'll provide the most benefit and the least amount of detriment to the market.  I will say, however, that when and if we release trial and/or personal editions, most of you will be pleased with how things played out.  Just as BDS2006 is a very different product from previous releases, so too will be the marketing.  So keep watching during the coming months for some interesting things.

So if you've been waiting for us to release a trial edition and are “on the fence“ about purchasing or upgrading, I encourage to you go ahead buy today.  Borland has a 30-day return policy (this depends upon the region so please check with your local Borland rep for details), so you'd still be able to evaluate the product for up to 30-days.  Product reviews are beginning to come out and early results are extremely positive.  If you're a VCL Win32 Delphi or C++Builder developer and are still using Delphi 5,6, or 7 or C++Builder 5 or 6, this is definately the edition to buy.  For the C# and Delphi/.NET developers, you too will find many of the new features available to be well worth the upgrade as well.

Finally, on behalf of the BDS team I'd like to thank Marco for his long running support of Delphi and the Delphi community.  I can, without a doubt, say that he is highly admired and respected by the team. His feedback, ideas, and thoughts carry a lot of weight.


  1. bla bla bla, Borland just cares about the money, screw Delphi

  2. Of course we care about the money. Borland is not a charity. We're in the business of providing a product that the customers use. In return for that they pay for it. Simple, no? We can espouse all the various virtues and benefits of the product, but in the end, if people don't buy it.. it will cease to exist.

  3. Delphian, what do you expect? Free? Maybe you should look for open source projects instead. Maybe Lazarus perhaps?

    It's totally unrealistic to assume Enterprise software of this calibre and diversity to be anything less than what costs Borland to develop.

    I do however, think that Borland's Marketing and associated Partner's program should do a much better job instead of wallowing in it's pitiful state.

    Chris W

  4. "but in the end, if people don't buy it.. it will cease to exist."

    at least you are being clear now

    "Maybe you should look for open source projects instead. Maybe Lazarus perhaps?"

    or perhaps developers should move on to MS Visual Studio, much cheaper and with the alternative to have the express editions, and MANY developers have already done that, and given the current Delphi situation I don't see why they would come back or how you would get new people to try Delphi

    "I do however, think that Borland's Marketing and associated Partner's program should do a much better job instead of wallowing in it's pitiful state."

    that is the whole point

  5. I've been using Delphi and its predecessor since Turbo Pascal 2, and I lament that it is no longer a cheap product.

    I have no problem having to wait for a free version, but I'd like to see a cheap paid-for personal edition that included bug-fix updates and source code of the standard units. And if I'm paying for it, why shouldn't it be available soon after introduction?

  6. I think BDS 2006 looks great, but as a recent university graduate i can't afford to buy it. Especially when the Visual Studio Express editions are free.

    I wonder how much of your new market you are losing by not having a free/cheap personal edition?

  7. Allen, the buzz index is high for trial and standard editions because BDS 2006 is so good. People are anxious to share a great product with others. And others would like to experience what is so great for themselves. So, accept the demand as commentary on a job well done.

    I am sure Borland marketing will consider how to best take advantage of this buzz when reviewing the issue of trial and standard editions. Strike while the iron is hot as the adage goes.

  8. Problem is, MS can afford to make VS free for the year (its not free forever at this time) because they rake in so much through other products. Borland are the betamax of the video world, its better, but, MS have just such a huge market share of the computing world that while borland are (IMHO) better at their languages, so many people see the word microsoft and assume better, but, because MS have money all but growing on trees, MS can afford to entice people away from anything....(see visio, and all the other apps they bought out over the years)

  9. I very rarely post comments to blogs, but this one I really cannot help myself.

    I've used enterprise versions of Delphi since Delphi 1 so I don't object to the pricing of that level of software for the quality I'm receiving. BUT, what still holds Delphi back is the lack of availability to grass roots programmers. It's no good holding back 'cheaper' editions until after the $$$ have been creamed out of a new version, the buzz is gone then.. Release it at the same time everyone is raving about a new version, and new users will come to it.

    Buy it, and use the 30 day moneyback option... Oh please, I know I wouldn't be willing to essentially pay a large sum for a demo I didn't know if I wanted to use.. even if I was promised that money back at a later date.

    I think this post really does show how out of touch Borland is getting.. (and this is from a supporter!!)

  10. I must concur with everyting Pete Goodwin has written. I even emailed DavidI about my concerns some time ago but have yet to receive a reply.

    I purchase a copy of Delphi for my own company's use (and have done since version 1) and the company I also do work for uses Delphi. We have not gone ahead and bought Delphi 2006. Why? I'm not going to get "burned again"!

    I am seriously evaluating Visual Studio as we can easily convert to C#.

    Borland need to very seriously need to address the concern of those of us who got burned by D2005.

  11. Trial and Personal would be good, another update for Delphi 2005 even better

  12. Since we're venting opinions...

    I am extremely happy with Delphi 2006. So far the very worst problems (and there are still problems) are trivial and easy to work around. Traffic on non-tech has been quite positive with few serious problems and even a surprising lack of "questionable" issues. Very good job. Thanks.

    I'm very interested in hearing what Borland has planned for a personal edition. I agree with the news group argument that it will help attract new users and would be very helpful for some open source projects.

  13. Great comments folks. Some very apropos. One thing that this topic seems to bring out is the assumption that there *won't* be a trial version. I think you can all agree that our top priority is to make sure the folks that have actually given us money are handled first. Seems like a good plan from a customer relationship angle. None of what I mentioned said anything about there never being a trial or personal version. The only real variable here, especially with the trial version, is the timing. We rely on many diffrerent sources of data in order to decide what the best timing would be for a trial release.

    As for the personal editions, those are discussed and debated at length internally. I agree with much of the reasons we *should* produce a personal edition. I also agree that the timing needs to be done very carefully. Marketing is as much a psychological game as it is a tactical and strategic one. A methodical/staged roll-out will serve to keep attention and press tuned into the Borland channel for longer.

  14. I purchased 2005 when it first came out (as I have for each and every other version of Delphi). Although I have never released a single win32 or .NET application using this version, I have produced ASP.NET applications, even though there were many IDE bugs, that I had to work around. I have already pruchased 2006 (so you are talking to the devoted here). I must say that I do still feel as though I have re-purchsed a properly working 2005. Yes, I know there are some changes, however, too many are things that should have been woring before 2005 was released. I am a one-man shop so I really resent the fact that I am paying for ECO, together, starteam and whatever other "enterprise" features that have been crammed down my... Now a quick question for all you gurus... hopefully someone will be kind enough to reply... Can BDS 2005 and BDS 2006 co-exist on a single computer? I know that MS advertises the fact that VS can. If you would rather not start this thread here please point me to the appropriate place or contact me at Thanks. P.S. Delphi seriously rocks... it's a shame that so few know this!

  15. I would just like to concur with others here. I have been an Enterprise SKU purchaser since V1. I am normally an early-ish adopter as I used to do a lot of training and with the exception of D4, each version has been a leap ahead of the last.

    I want to get into ECOII, but none of my clients want or need to leap yet, they still want D7 W32.

    I purchased D2005 Architect, installed, tested, uninistalle and thought the writing was on the wall after D8, then D2005.

    I am extremely pleased about the views and reviews of D2006, but find myself in a catch 22, in addition to having a slight grudge about the wasted cash on 2005. I think more than any other version (other than 1), the trial is important.

    My ££'s will stay in my pocket until I can prove the worth and try and get some enthusiasm in my clientbase. I have no problem paying for it when I get paid for my work.

    Keep up the good work, and yield to the pressure.


  16. The cheapest edition costs $1,090. Sorry, I am a poor student. My limit is approx. $200-250.

  17. Instead of a free personal edition, wouldn't it be a good idea to release separate personalities for a reduced price?

    Lot's of people are hesitant, just because they don't need the full blown IDE. So they stay on the older versions instead...

  18. Sorry Allen, as much as I respect and am thankful for the work in the unofficial patches you helped release with respect to Delphi 2005, I can completely understand other customers point of view.

    I have been a very big Delphi advocate for years, and sadly was let down by Delphi 8 and 2005 in terms of daily stability of the IDE. Crashes (between 10 and 30 a day not being uncommon) and long waits for restart do tend to get on your productivity.

    Whilst I understand your business point of view of the release of trial versions, I too would have to agree with others that I was told previously that the IDE stability issues were gone with the release of Delphi 2005 and sadly I was let down, again. I can definitely understand others desire to see if the marketing comments are just more sales hype or if things have actually been fixed to the point where our beloved development tool is once again a benefit too us, and not a productivity drain.

    Its disappointing to be told that stability has been fixed, and we have to pay another 1000+ for an Architect version we can’t yet try to see if it has actually been fixed. Look I would love to trust everyone’s word, but twice let down does make you cautious about wanting to part with more money.

    I love Delphi, I really do and I really do hope it meets up to the claims you are all making about it, but I hope you can (albeit if you can’t comment publicly) understand why we would be cautious given the recent history of two versions?

    Thank you for your post though, it always makes interesting reading. :)

  19. I concur with Graham K's post.

    The whole strategy seems to be to squeeze as much money possible from those who are naive enough to put the money upfront. Well, guess what?! Someone who's willing to give you all that money without testing it would most likely buy the product anyway. So what is Borland losing? All the money invested in marketing -- which seems non-existing btw. Other than those who are willing to blindly give their money to Borland, there are those who:

    1. got burned in the past and will hold back for a trial, by that time the "new smell" of the product is long gone and these will be less willing to give away their money -- it's basic human psychology, or

    2. have never use the product before, read a review in some article and would like to see what the buzz is all about. Most these people are lost for good because when they go to Borland's site there's no trial version. Do you think they would diligently check back with Borland every month to make sure they've release the trial version so that Borland can put up their "best look"? Dream on.

    And releasing a free version in a magazine only edition?! What kind of message is that sending? You need to buy a magazine you don't care for -- and most likely have only access to by ordering online -- just to give Borland's product a chance?! You can do this only when you have a huge marketing machine, and even then it would be suicide not to release it to everybody. You guys need to get a grip.

  20. (I should have proofread before posting; my apologies for those who care)

  21. Not willing to pop your bubble, but if fear of "de-trialing" (aka piracy) of the trial version is in anyone's arguments at Borland for not releasing a trial early, then a severe reality check is needed: the full version got on P2P networks days before the box got delivered by snail mail here...

    We monitor the announces sites to track illegal release of our products and keep in contact with countermeasures to our protections, I wholeheartedly suggest Borlanders should do the same in a regular, formal fashion, so as to ensure a minimal, real-world awareness of the higher executive levels.

  22. What about Shareware developers? Many great shareware products are written in Delphi by Hobbyists. A price of 1K is a bit high for a shareware developer. A standard version that offers similar features as Pro but priced for this market would be a big benefit for Borland as to not alienate these shareware developers. Any version marketed like this should be priced reasonably - say $200 to $400 range and should be able to be used to produce commercial software, that is ones where shareware developers can charge for a unlimited version of their product as is common.

    I think you will find that alot of the early contributions to free components and the Delphi community was done by alot of these shareware or small retail product developers. So Borland, don't alienate these loyal consumers of yours, they contribute to the Delphi community in other ways that are valuable.

  23. I can't even come up with a reply to this that doesn't result in a rant about the attitude it displays towards customers.

    I, a previous early adopter, will wait for the trial version. As I suspect will an ever growing number of customers. Who do you think will blink first? (we can get other tools, like VS and lazarus, and REMObject's Chrome. Where are you going to get more customers?)

    And that is probably the politest version I have come up with since the post appeared.

  24. Confusion about licencing.

    The licence.rtf on the media that I have says

    "You may use the Product or any Works for any

    commercial or business purpose ("Commercial Purpose")

    provided that you are an Individual."

    And the licence file i got from the Borland site says that I may NOT use the software for commercial use.

    So which is it ?

  25. I think that Borland - as a gesture of goodwill should offer a greatly cost reduced version of Delphi 2006 for those who got their fingers burnt on Delphi 2005. I am a single software developer and fell for all the hype surrounding Delphi 2005 and paid almost 1500 UK pounds ( abou 2500 US ) for Architect - only to find I cannot now use it. ( It will not load - sure I can uninstall everything but its too much hassle to do it on a regular basis - and why should I have to! ) If Borland offered me D2006 upgrade for around 500 then I could be interested - otherwise I will never buy it - because they didn't deliver the product they should have with D2005. They must show some resposibility to their loyal customers - I have bought nearly every version since Delphi 1 - but after D2005 I really don't feel inclined to buy any more at the exhorbitant prices for what may - or may not end up as a solid - usable product. Borland owe those people who bought D2005 a good stable product and should EITHER release updates for D2005 - or heavy discounts on D2006 - or they will lose a lot of customers.

  26. What about downloading it with EDonkey? :>

  27. Spent a lot of time learning Delphi and use it to produce business apps. Currently using version 7.0 and am happy with it. The 2005 Trial version was too slow and convoluted, so I didn't purchase and almost converted to Not releasing a trial tells me Borland may have something to hide. I'll only buy if I can test first, damn the discount for purchasing early. My time is worth more than a few dollars. After reading the other posts, I am not the only pro feeling this way. If you want to keep my business, earn it.

  28. I notice it's been almost a month with no snarky comeback on my post. Can it be *shock* that I had a point??

    It would sure seem so.

  29. I became intersted id Delphi after another program that I used recommended it for DLL development. I TRIED TO FIND THE 2005 PERSONAL EDITION, BUT COULDN'T so I'll go back to using the MS stuff i already have.

  30. I have been using Delphi 7, successfully, for some time now. I have three applications and about seventy customers. My question is this: Will Delphi 2006 compile my existing code, or will I need to re-write?

  31. Originally I was deciding between C# and good ol' Delphi. I still have Delphi 5.0 pro waiting for me, so I gave it a try. Bugs, bugs, more bugs, help file is missing chunks of reserved methods, properties, events that I had to use the help file from my Delphi 2.0. DB access doesn't work, FTP controls don't work all the time. The list keeps getting bigger, and it seems I need the enterprise version. How much? oh just $2500. Yeah right, I'm not going to pay that much for something that might work. I already spent a fortune for my 5.0 version that doesn't even work after applying the patch.

    Then I see Delphi 7 is for sale, so let me check on getting the patches before I buy it, and again I see complaints like the ones above my post.

    Sorry Borland, just as you've given up on your customers, the diehard ones that just want to see you succeed, I'm afraid I've given up on you, along with the rest of us. Here comes C#.

  32. So Borland has come out with yet another version of Delphi... Is it an inherent need for software developers to empty their pockets so the marketeering team at Boredland can get their jollies off? I didn't think so.

    If you guys had any sense at all you would kick the marketing staff to the curb and take up pandering to college students. I'm currently a college student and before I was faced with my current development project Delphi meant something ancient and Greek. You guys should pull your heads out to see some daylight... So you have a great product and there are developers out there willing to pay thousands to use it... Who cares. There are hundreds of thousands of willing and able programmers on sourceforge who could out-program circles around even the M$ monopoly developing teams. Give Lazarus a year and they'll have an extension that can seamlessly load any Delphi extensions.

    If the heads at Borland had any sense at all, they would do everything they could to create more interest for everybody to get involved in the Delphi development. The reason there are so many good quality open source projects popping up right now is because the proprietary software companies have been drastically increasing the cost of their product with little increase in quality. You guys don't realize that, even though your product is getting better, people aren't earning that much more because they prefer to use it. On the contrary, if a new version of Delphi comes out and it doesn't support the older libraries then you are costing a lot of people who took the time to use and support your program their jobs. I have barely scratched the surface of the abilities that Delphi has and I've heard more then enough negative views to keep me away.

    Do the world a favor. Climb out of your cubes for a day and open a macroeconomics 101 book. Learn what supply and demand really means. Get a clue, you aren't selling XBox consoles to pimple-faced dummies.

    If you need real world proof of the grassroots hacking movement. Lookup "nslu2 slug" on Google. That's just a small example of what happened when linksys decided to use linux firmware on a NAS device.

    Here is a little tip through the grapevine that could make all of your shareholders wet themselves. All of the millions of software pirates, couriers, crackers, hackers, packagers, pub hosts, and other illegal underground organizations are evolving. They don't have to waste their time hacking worthless proprietary software anymore. They can join a development community for any of hundreds of thousands of projects that are devoted to giving them what they really want. Good quality software at no cost. No more guilt, no more letters from the FBI.

    Quit wasting your time following M$ by creating multiple licensing packages (does anybody really want to increase the demand for lawyers in the world... honestly), quit worrying about making it look professional by re-branding the packaging (people who download it don't get to see the boxes anyway). Having a new version released every year is cool unless you have to pay for it. Extensions are awesome if they can continue to be supported, and make it easy to modify and expand. Technology companies have no idea how much fun people like me have by hacking and tinkering with GUI's, cars, electronics, software plugins, and everything else we can get our hands on.

  33. I like Delphi's "taste", it is a very creative instrument. Bought the personal version of 7 through a German book "delphi for kids". But I don't have 2000 €:-)) I have been trying to find out the differences between personal and standard and other versions, but only those versions that cost a lot of dollars are even mentioned in the products list of your website. What does one make of this? I don't want to say what I am thinking. But it does make one sad. Maybe I am just too dumb:-)


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