"A New Mindjet is Coming" and existing software assurance plans

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I've just received a notice from an Australian distributor regarding Mindjet's intention to move to a subscription-based model across its full product range. The email links to a more detailed announcement here: http://pathways.mindsystems.com/mindj...

The announcement is both a little confusing and somewhat concerning. The subscription prices mentioned (in Australian dollars) seem quite high, although there are incentives in the form of a limited time window during which reductions are offered for those who buy new but current MM2012 licences or who upgrade to the new Mindjet 11 version if they already have a MM licence (though it is not clear which current versions are eligble for this offer).

Perhaps the greatest concern for many existing users is the lack of any mention in this announcement of any additional discounts or offers for those people who are currently participating in the Mindjet Software Assurance and Support program.

The announcement is also puzzling because I have not seen any reference to this new subscription model anywhere else, including Mindjet's own website. I'd appreciate some more information about whether the subscription model is being rolled out everywhere, some more clarity on the different subscription and upgrade options and some information on how current subscribers to the software assurance program are going to be treated.

Subject to confirmation that a subscription model along these lines will be introduced and the provision of answers to some of my questions above, I still have a range of specific concerns about the new model which I will discuss in more detail in another post. I also intend to prepare a cost-benefit comparison between the current ownership model and the new subscription approach.
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Alex Gooding, Champion

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Posted 7 years ago

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mdalves

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Interesting. Now waiting for a formal communication from Mindjet.
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Alex Gooding, Champion

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While I'm waiting for a response from Mindjet I've had a further look at the numbers based on the Australian distributor's figures and some other sources.

From what I can see the total cost of subscribing over a three year period will be about the same as or slightly lower than the current perpetual desktop licence pricing only if - and these are pretty big "ifs" - you currently upgrade MM every time a new version cones out but don't currently have any software assurance or technology guarantee arrangement in place and you are able to to take advantage of the upgrade promotions within the limited timeframe Mindjet is providing.

However, if you currently don't upgrade reguarly, or if you do but have an assurance or guarantee arrangement in place, the current licence model appears to be cheaper than the promotion price.

More importantly, irrespective of what you currently do about upgrades, if you don't get on the subscription bandwaggon within the promotional timeframe "window" and you want to do so later you are, to use a technical term, screwed.

In this case you will end up paying $360 annually, which is the equivalent of paying around 90% of the cost of a full licence every year. This is about 40% more over three years than the current cost of upgrading on an annual basis - and of course even more, if your current cost is lower because of an assurance or technology guarantee, or you don't upgrade annually.

These changes will be very concerning for many users who may not want to upgrade to the latest subscription version straight away because they want to see the bugs ironed out first or because they discover that some current feature that they use regularly has been discontinued. It appears that if you hold off past the promotional deadline, the financial penalty will be severe.

I am happy to be corrected on any of these assumptions, but these are the only conclusions I can draw at this stage from the limited and confusing information that has been released.
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Bruce Caithness

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Yes, I find this extremely concerning. I would hate to see Mindjet shoot themselves in the foot. It strikes of hubris. What software vendors need to realize is that smartphone apps which are priced ridiculously low have created a new value expectation in consumers. For Mindjet to treat its existing consumer base in this way is very poorly thought out. It as not as if competition is not hotting up in the mind-mapping space - have a look at Novamind, that is now actively courting plug-in developers. On the plug-in score Mindjet disappointed me in the last year when it seemed to show a major lack of loyalty to developers like Gyronix - GyroQ was one of the great plug-ins but was not formally upgraded for MM2012. I wonder why? Mindjet is not too big to fail - just look at Nokia (though I hope they resurge).
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Alex Gooding, Champion

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I agree with you re the pricing, especially (as you point out) in the age of smartphone, apps which cost less than $5 - and often less than $2. Even most web-based services such as storage etc, usually cost no more than $5 or at most $10 a month. Like it or not this is the new online reality, and attempts by vendors such as Mindjet to try to maintain their old desktop pricing levels within this model seem hopelessly outdated.

There are two related issues. The first is whether the whole subscription/cloud-based services model is much better suited to some software applications and uses than to others. For example, while web-based map creation and management through services like Connect is great for some things such as collaborative work planning etc, it is simply not suitable (yet) for developing or managing very complex maps.

The desktop version of MM is much better at doing this sort of thing - and desktop software is in turn better suited to a perpetual licence rather than a subscription model, especially as the latter is likely to force you to upgrade when you don't want to - for example, when add-ins like GyroQ don't work with the upgrade.

The second issue is Mindjet's attempt to "own" the whole collaboration and task management process. It's one thing to release tools like Connect, it's quite another to make life difficult for those users who wish to use alternatives like GyroQ, or those whould like to use all the features of the original version of JCV Gantt or the full version of Power Markers.

As you say, Mindjet's attitude towards add-ins and their developers is very disappointing and they run the risk of being outflanked in this area as well as on price by their competitors.
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Bruce Caithness

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Yes, I agree with all of your comments. One has to wonder what is going on in Mindjet's boardroom.

There are a whole stream of add-ins that I found useful over the years that have fallen by the wayside.

I do have an affection for Mindjet's Mindmanager but they can stretch the rubber band only so far before it snaps.
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Parker Trewin

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Hi, Alex and Bruce-

I understand your confusion. While we communicated some information to our reseller partners, our public announcement plans are scheduled for later this month. At that time we will be providing more details, especially about options for current customers.

Please stay tuned until then. In the meantime please contact customer support or your Mindjet representative for more information. They are your best avenue for specific questions.
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Alex Gooding, Champion

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Hi Parker,

Thanks for the response. However, while I can understand the strategy of briefing your resellers before a public launch, it seems odd that Mindjet appears to have been unable to negotiate a single date with them on which to make an announcement.

Frankly I'm surprised that a company that sells planning and project management software has been unable to organise the public communication of such a fundamental change much more effectively. You would have to agree that whatever pricing levels are selected, the move from perpetual licences to a subscription model will have a major impact on all existing and prospective users and therefore was always bound to be controversial.

I'm also interested in your statement that at the time of the launch you will provide more details, "especially about options for current customers." I'm afraid that the horse has well and truly bolted on this one. While there are still some critical pieces of information missing - for example, what discount arrangements apply to people with software assurance agreements - your resellers around the world have already announced the basic pricing and the upgrade options.

So, with the greatest respect, there is no point in pretending that there is anything to keep back on that score unless, of course, Mindjet is thinking about reducing these pricing levels - and this is a step I would certainly urge the company to consider.

The subscription prices announced so far are extraordinarily high. Mindjet seem to forget that many of its users are starting to have to pay subscriptions for other products they use, for example Microsoft Office. Users will be forced to be much more selective about which products they subscribe to and in this context Mindjet is likely to come off second best.
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Parker Trewin

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Alex,

Just a note to acknowledge your comments. While I can't offer any more specifics at this time, more details will be forthcoming.
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Esther van Wijngaarden

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The subscription contains both MindManager desktop products (MAC and Windows), Connect web (Vision and Action) and the mobile products.

In the Netherlands the Mindjet Roadshow is on September 12th in Utrecht. All details about the licensing model will be presented, including a demo of Mindjet 11 (which has integration with Connect Action and some extra's). Dutch customers can register via:
http://learn.mindjet.com/news-roadsho...

In other countries Mindjet has a roadshow as well, so please contact your reseller or Mindjet.
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Alex Gooding, Champion

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Thanks Esther.

However I would respectfully suggest that my key points are still valid:

1. The whole launch process has not been handled well by Mindjet;

2. Irrespective of what the subscription package contains it is still very expensive, especially for people who use the desktop product and who don't want or need Connect and/or who don't currently upgrade every time a new version of Mindjet is released; and

3. There is likely to be a lot of resistance to the subscription model, even with the discounts for people who upgrade but especially those who for whatever reason don't or can't upgrade within the fairly tight deadline for doing so;

If Mindjet does not rethink its overall pricing structure before the launch, then to use an old Australian expression, "I'll bet you London to a brick" that the launch discount will be extended, or that Mindjet will be forced to either lower the price or offer further discounts - I'd say by either Christmas this year or Easter 2013.
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Bruce Caithness

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Yes, At the risk of labouring the point about costing, there are very capable online-offline-combination packages that have far lower subscription and desktop costs than Mindjet's projected pricing. Once you go to a subscription only model brand loyalty will rapidly dissipate. Perpetual licences give the psychological feeling of investment in real property that renting does not. It will be very sad to see Mindjet lose market share due to a poorly packaged pricing model. I hope you will gain some sense.

Bruce
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mdalves

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Mindjet is talking a lot about collaboration and social business, and it seems they made some decisions by themselves without hearing and "collaborating" with they huge base of loyal customers.
Mindmanager is a valuable tool for me, I paid (my own money) for my MM7 license and for the upgrade to MM12; a subscription model is simply not viable to me.
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Myk Rushton

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Personally I think that MindManger with 2012 reach its useful apogee and Mindjet are now adding ‘extra’ features and 'services' to raise profits - This is not a bad practice but I believe the current approach is flawed. Previous statements above about the failure to communicate/collaborate with customers, current market place developments with regards to mobile devices/apps, the failure to support the add on market and the current communication issues that Mindjet has all point to a disconnected executive who forgot to leave their ego at the door when designing applications and services

As a single user who pays for their own copy of MindManager it is unlikely that I will move on from my Mindjet MindManager 2012 V10.1.459 to a licencing model as I cannot afford to keep paying for the software each year - plus, I need my Gyronix!

I already have a subscription to MindMeister as its online uncluttered interface is good for collaborating with new mindmappers so I have no need of the services Mindjet are currently peddling
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Joe

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So frustrated with Mindjet! I now use NovaMind for my day to day Mind Mapping needs, and am gradually migrating my old MindManager maps to NovaMind, so should be able to complete the switch soon, thank goodness.
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@ Parker: I'll quote from my last software assurance notice (sent to me less than three months ago): "Renewing your support plan will provide you with priority case queuing, telephone helpdesk support, and free upgrade to the newer version of MindManager for Windows when it is released during your contract period ." (my emphasis)

So far I've not seen anything in the pricing information other than an offer of a general discount for all people holding current MM licences. My question to Mindjet is simple - does the company intend to honour the commitment it has made to those users with an assurance arrangement to provide them with a free upgrade?
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Valerie Jones-Harvey, Official Rep

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@Alexsg: While under an active MSA agreement, Mindjet will honor the free upgrade to the new version. You will receive your new key at launch.
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Alex Gooding, Champion

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Thanks, though I'm not sure exactly what your response means.

Do I get a new one-off perpetual licence, a free subscription or something else? Is the subscription effectively the new software assurance agreement? And do I have to do anything at launch or will the offer be sent out automatically?
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Valerie Jones-Harvey, Official Rep

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@Alexsg if you have an active Mindjet Software Assurance and Support (MSA) agreement, you will receive a perpetual key at launch. You will not receive the subscription unless you have purchased recently, which it does not sound like you have.

The subscription will be explained more in a few days, but it is not the new MSA. Your new perpetual key will be sent to you via email, you will not have to do anything.
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Alex Gooding, Champion

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OK - so does that mean I'll need to pay for the Mindjet Web subscription on top of the new MSA if I want access to Connect?

And if new purchasers are to be locked into a subscription-only model, what are the implications for Mindjet 11 perpetual licence-holders in 12 months time or whenever the next upgrade to the desktop version is due?

Finally, when will users with an MSA receive the new perpetual key?
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Valerie Jones-Harvey, Official Rep

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@Alexsg please contact support, so that we can answer your specific questions. The answers are dependent on your situation and we have special offers to move current customers to Mindjet, if you are interested in moving over.

Keys are being sent out as we speak, so you should be receiving them shortly.
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Alex Gooding, Champion

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@Valerie, thanks, but how do I contact support?

When I click on support I get a map of the world with what appear to be Mindjet offices in different countries marked with the Mindjet logo. I assume these are links to email addresses and/or other contact info but none of them are live, nor will right-clicking them reveal the underlying links.
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richardkhassen

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This is confusing. Would I be better served by purchasing a mindmanager license now, as a single user, or later? Or am I going to get priced out of this software?

One of the big reasons why I decided to try MindManager for project management was that basecamp's subscription program was ludicrious to me as a freelancer. This is the whole reason, I searched for and found this software! The MindMapping was just a bonus, but not an essential component. I can afford to buy a package, that lasts as long as it works on my systems, but I can't afford to be reliant on a subscription model when times are tough -- and that is when I am most likely to want access to my files and do some serious planning - to improve my business model and solve problems that I can't while I am in client service mode.
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Ary Velstra, Expert Trainer

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Buying a NEW license NOW is always a good option.

You receive Mindjet 11 (MindManager latest version) perpetual AND one year Mindjet subscription, so you have software assurance that would cost you about 79,80 euro for free for 12 months AND you have Mindjet WEB (now connect Business edition) that would cost you about 128,00 euro for free as well.

After this One year period you decide wether you wish to stay on subscription or not.
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Bruce Caithness

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Ridiculous strategy and I am suspect Mindjet is beginning to realise such.
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Mark Ternent

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Below is most of the text of an email I sent to the NZ agent...

I’ve been using MindManager since the 2002 version and have shown it to a great number of people over that time, many of whom I know have bought it (as a business coach and presenter I used it for workshops / client sessions). From memory I have participated in 4 paid versions (2002, 5, 6 and 9). I am a strong advocate.

I’ve been watching the price go up over the last few versions, without corresponding benefit increase for a sole user.

Obviously Mindjet have been moving towards the US corporate workgroup market.

But as you’ll have guessed I letting you know that I won’t be upgrading any more. The cost of the product is out of proportion to what I am prepared to pay.
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Samuel Edge

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I've been a loyal MindJet / MindManager user for 20 nearly years now. Before this whole cloud thing exploded, a small company came out with with an online MM solution, mindmeister. See https://www.mindmeister.com. I've been using them for two years now. (~$47.00 / year).

I would hope MindJet sees their current pricing model as a being cost prohibitive to the "home/personal" or even the small business, which I am.

FYI: It seems today, that adding up all the costs of my subscription software, I'm certainly not paying less.
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Martin Peakman

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I was shocked at the current cost model. £27/month.

I currently pay that for the whole of Adobe Suite Master Collection Cloud. Which costs £2500 to buy.

Microsoft Office 2013 + Cloud Home Premium is going to be around £100/yr

I have just upgraded as per the emails and I assume I will get the service for a year. I don't think I can after this justify £27/month considering other offerings in the industry.

Maybe I need to seriously look at what this can give me as currently I can't justify the cost.
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David Hannam

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I believe I have now bought my last mindjet upgrade - been using Mindmanager since 2002 and will not pay £30 per month. Thanks for the memory....and good luck with the Corporates
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dwk

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It is my solemn vow to find a non-subscription alternative as soon as I can - I do not like being held hostage to ever increasing subscription fees.I have been using MM for over 10 years - you have just lost a customer.
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Placer Ventures

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Just received the email from Mindjet outlining their new pricing model. I am gone too. I am a teacher and run a small software business and the subscription fee it way to expensive. I also have been a long time MM user and you have lost another customer. Hopefully MM9 for the Mac will continue to work until I find an alternative.
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Chris Prigg

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I've been using and promoting Mindmanager for many years. I too can't see the value proposition in the latest "update" and have little hope of building a viable business case for my (large) employer and/or continuing with a private license.

I too will be moving away from the product and the brand. You have lost another customer. As another post has said - thanks for the memory and good luck - you will need it.
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John Wolf

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I think its very silly that there is no longer a non-cloud standalone application for Mac.

What are individuals supposed to do for pricing? If I am missing something let me know, but no individuals I know will pay $360/yr for a MindMap application.

I really don't see a reason you can't offer both, other than greed.

Its a shame, I liked your software and company up until now.

Good luck being a corporate only company.
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Anthony Gundrum

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Corporate greed... you have that right!
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mdalves

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I am out too. I have always demanded cross-plataform licensing, but simply can not afford this subscription pricing; just compare it to evernote for instance.... mindjet cost is amazingly high.

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