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VS2010 SKUs simplified

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We have been trying to simplify our product lineup and skus over the past few years for all of our products. Customers want it to be simpler. I have bought software before, and in comparison we have some of the simplest licensing, but we can always do better. Windows 7 has fewer skus, and now VS2010 does as well. Having different skus is important, but the trick is to have the right number.

Too much choice leads to consumer confusion and dissatisfaction. Studies have shown that too many choices leads to a dissatisfied customer. Let’s say you go into a store and there are 100 different types of jeans on sale. You spend some time, pick the ones you like and bring them home (preferably after paying for them.) You will be ok with your selection, but not really happy. You will always have the doubt in your head as to the question if you actually picked the right pair. Perhaps the one with the super special boot leg cut would have been better looking with my sandals. Now that I have you fretting about the jeans you are wearing, lets return to why we are all here.

For VS2010 we have reduced it to three skus. There is still VS Express, but that is free, so it isn’t really a sku, and doesn’t count. (I was going to make a zero reference but Mike Neel is sick of those jokes, and he was kind enough to send me a free token to his new game, which rocks!)

The skus are: (official feature breakdown here)

· Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Professional (MSDN optional): the essential tool for professional development tasks to assist developers in implementing their ideas easily. The basic tool set. If you get MSDN you get time on Azure, and the server products. Also includes TFS and a CAL, and basic unit testing. Nice!

· Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Premium with MSDN: a complete toolset for developers to deliver scalable, high quality applications. All of the above, plus: better testing tools, database dev tools, super debug features, and some architecture stuff. You also get Visio, Project, Office, and Expression Studio for production use. Score!

· Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate with MSDN: the comprehensive suite of application lifecycle management tools for software teams to ensure quality results from design to deployment. Of course all of the above, plus: Wicked architecture tools, and the new lab management infrastructure. Have you seen this? Crazy! This is the full fire hose. Once you see the fullness, you won’t be able to go back. If you are at a lower level, we have a deal that will give you a discount on upgrading to a higher level.


Hopefully this will make it easier to figure out which version you need. There is a plan in place for people with VS2008 to figure out which version they get when they upgrade or renew their MSDN subscription. Please keep an eye for those details. The MSDN site and program has been upgraded, with some new benefits that will be rolled out over the coming months.

Mike said...
10/22/2009 02:01:00 PM  

Thanks for supporting the "Zeros are Numbers too" cause. The sooner we stop making zeros the butt of our jokes, the sooner zeros can live up to their full value.

Overall I really like the new SKUs for 2010 and think this is a much easier way to explain the differences. My one minor complaint would be the term "Ultimate" - sounds like a marketing guy's idea to sell that SKU to people who don't really need it. "Enterprise" would be more fitting of the role this SKU is aiming at.

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