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HARMAN pricing. Is it realistic?

Advocate ,
Jun 20, 2019

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HARMAN pricing has been announced and is not cheap. I said in a few posts it will likely be low and I was simply wrong. My company already said NO (I asked) and we are now leaving AIR for good.

I sure do understand the need for HARMAN to profit but it seems to me that pricing is too high. As a result maybe some people are going to pay while actively seeking alternative solution and quickly leaving the tech afterward.

What do you guys think of that pricing? Good for the future of AIR or not good?

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HARMAN pricing. Is it realistic?

Advocate ,
Jun 20, 2019

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HARMAN pricing has been announced and is not cheap. I said in a few posts it will likely be low and I was simply wrong. My company already said NO (I asked) and we are now leaving AIR for good.

I sure do understand the need for HARMAN to profit but it seems to me that pricing is too high. As a result maybe some people are going to pay while actively seeking alternative solution and quickly leaving the tech afterward.

What do you guys think of that pricing? Good for the future of AIR or not good?

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Jun 20, 2019 2
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Community Beginner ,
Jun 20, 2019

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I agree with you, they are not cheap, i would suggest one more commercial option. If i understand good there is free option for apps that earning less than $25k per year but there will be splash screen on start-up. For me who not earning even no close to $25k per year, $19.99 per month is too much. Maybe i can pay up to $10 per month or $99 per year just to remove spash screen from startup because it will not be nice to see splash screen at startup and that maybe will not be in compliance with google (I'm just speculating). Regards

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Jun 20, 2019 2
Enthusiast ,
Jun 20, 2019

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For me it really relies on what happens to the AIR + Animate workflow.

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Jun 20, 2019 2
Participant ,
Jun 20, 2019

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Yes. The pricing is pretty high. Especially when one compare it with Unity:

  • $200k revenue or funding cap ->  99$ (AIR) vs 35$ (Unity)
  • no revenue cap -> 199$ vs 125$

And Unity includes IDE while AIR is just a runtime and a packaging tool.

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Jun 20, 2019 4
Guide ,
Jun 20, 2019

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Oldes  wrote

Yes. The pricing is pretty high. Especially when one compare it with Unity:

  • $200k revenue or funding cap ->  99$ (AIR) vs 35$ (Unity)
  • no revenue cap -> 199$ vs 125$

And Unity includes IDE while AIR is just a runtime and a packaging tool.

Agreed. Worse even when compared with Godot, which is open source, and free, with no cap on app revenue, of course. And includes a really nice visual IDE as well.

At least it is good news for existing Air developers. That said, I don't see how this will bring new developers to Air.

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Jun 20, 2019 4
Engaged ,
Jun 20, 2019

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Good question. You know I've been an Harman's supporter lately, but at this time, I must admit I have mixed feelings.

I think that, as a price model for a good tech, the fees are pretty fair, so we can't really blame Harman for that price grid. Unity is cheaper, but their audience is much larger, for example. But of course, there is also the recent tension surrounding this transition from Adobe to Harman, and I can't help but feel some hesitations here.

I'll try to express my feelings about this, hopefully it will be useful to Harman. First, a few words about my case: I'm an indie dev, with a collection of apps (some actively developed, some legacy). My model is based on creating apps which include contents from other authors, which means that about half of my raw income goes to my partners. It means that, given Harman's conditions, I'll have to pay for Professional tier, even if my real income corresponds to the Personal tier. I suppose that not many people are in such a case though, so I'll consider I'm a pretty specific case here.

Now some random thoughts:

- People have always been able to publish AIR apps for free, and no splash screens. If tomorrow I had to republish all my apps with a splash screen, my customers would probably flood me with complaints about this useless / ugly splash screen. So basically, whatever my revenue, I'll have no choice but to pay for a splashscreen-free version.

- Just to replace things in context, people were expecting Adobe to handle the 64bits Android issue, and they didn't. Some people felt betrayed, and now feel almost forced to pay to get the 64bits support. I even read the word "blackmail" in some posts here and there.

- In Harman's document, it is stated that Harman will require audit data to evaluate our revenues, so the right tier is applied. Personally, this is probably what bothers me the most, as I already do enough accountability work right now, and don't want to have extra paper work to do. Moreover, I think it immediately installs a climate of suspicion between devs and Harman, where we'll have to prove our honesty. Not a great way to start a partnership, if you ask me. In the current situation, I think Harman has as much to prove as we do, if not more.

- If I understood Harman's document properly, if you change tiers (and for example go back to Free tier), then you'll have to repackage your apps so they contain the splash screen. As explained above, this is not something I want to do for my customers (who don't give a damn about the tech I use). So it means that if I update all my Android apps to 64bit, even the old legacy ones, I'll have to pay for them in the long term (even if they don't make much money, and I don't plan to make them evolve, and just keep them as is in my catalogue). I know why Harman chose this rule: to prevent people from paying for one month, publish their app, then cancel the subscription. But I really believe that if people are serious about their apps, and want to maintain them, they won't cancel their subscription every other day to save a few bucks.

By listing the points above, I realize it's a pretty big pill to swallow for me, and that Harman's rules feel a bit too coercive, especially those audit and repackaging parts. In those kinds of situations, the first thing you're generally tempted to ask is: "OK, if I follow the rules, pay $1000 upfront for next year, accept to attach my apps to this paid version of AIR where I can't really go back to a free tier later, and am ready to prove I'm a honest person with extra paper work, what do I get in return?". Right now, the only thing I seem to get is Android 64bit support. Something I thought would be done for free by Adobe. Despite all my will to support Harman (as I know they're not responsible for the Adobe fiasco), it leaves a slightly bitter taste in my mouth. I think that when you ask devs to make an effort, you also have to show them they're getting something nice in return, not just the right to keep doing something they did for years.

In that regard, I think it would have been necessary to publish a rough roadmap at the same time as announcing the prices, so people feel they're betting on the future. Also, I think Harman should have shown more trust towards devs, by saying "OK, we trust you, so we know you'll pay the right tier. And on the other hand, we ask you to trust us, and our commitment to AIR." But trust can't be only one way. So if they ask us for money without any concrete commitment on the future, and at the same time, tell us they'll audit our accountability to be sure we're not trying to fraud, there's something that really doesn't feel good here.

Ultimately, I think I'll pay the subscription for this year. My work depends too much on AIR at this time. But my next thought is about what I'll do next year: will I believe in Harman, or migrate to a tech that offers me more guarantees for my money? I like what I saw right now with Andrew's commitment and communication, but I think we need more to be convinced our money will be well used. I know this is a difficult transition, and that there is a lot to do, so I want to trust them and give them the benefit of the doubt. But they must be aware they're walking a very thin line here, and that trust can be lost very quickly, especially now that money is involved.

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Jun 20, 2019 9
Advocate ,
Jun 20, 2019

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Very well said. That pricing seems like a big mistake from HARMAN. They said they want to attract new users but I don't see that pricing helping at all with that. They said they want to keep existing users and I don't see that pricing helping with that either. The only case where this pricing makes any sense to me is if HARMAN only goal is to milk remaining AIR users up until they are all gone, I can't think of any other explanation. This pricing is very bad news for AIR.

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Jun 20, 2019 2
Engaged ,
Jun 20, 2019

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I want to believe people at Harman are not cynical / greedy. But I think there is a mistake in their strategy.

Basically, when you do commerce, you have two possible approaches:

- Either a short-term approach, where you try to make as much money as possible in a short period of time, before everything collapses. In that case, you don't care about your clients, you try to create a situation where people feel they have no choice, to make them pay as much money as possible.

- Or you have a customer-centric strategy (Amazon is the ultimate example), where everything is done to gain the loyalty of your customers, so they see you as a partner instead of a mere merchant.

Let's face it, right now, the people who are the most willing to pay for AIR, are also the ones who love AIR the most (those who didn't love AIR that much already migrated to other techs). So putting too much constraints on the most loyal base feels like shooting the ambulance, instead of building on it as a solid foundation for the future.

I'm ready to pay good money to people who give me the impression they want to support AIR and do a good job (and I know money is necessary for that). But to make things feel more "friendly", I would remove:

- The idea of making audits.

- The need to repackage all our apps to the free version (including a splash screen) if we cancel the paid tiers for some reason (it can involve A LOT of work!).

Those rules won't make AIR more successful. They'll just make people run away, and it will be the last nail in the coffin.

Harman needs loyal AIR fans as much as we need AIR 33+ to build on the future. Adding too many constraints to the last AIR supporters sounds counter-productive. Do a good job, trust your users, and you'll be successful. Being control freaks only creates more suspicion and lack of trust.

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Jun 20, 2019 8
Community Beginner ,
Jun 20, 2019

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I just saw the pricing this morning and my heart sank.  I think it's really going to drive away not only new developers but current ones also.  I feel it would go much smoother at half their current pricing for the time being to give users a period to adjust with the plan to increase the prices at a given point.  The way it is now, with no real expectations set other than Android 64 bit arriving soon, I'll probably submit whatever I can and then start completely moving all of my AIR work to Unity 2D.  Then if HARMAN keeps up their efforts and really makes some improvements to iOS and Windows, I'll consider it.

I'm also a bit confused as to how this is supposed to work... they'll have audits like they stated in their email?  Are they saying we need to keep paying for the AIR license for as long as our apps are in the app-stores?  I feel like I need a better understanding on how this is supposed to work.

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Jun 20, 2019 3