JetBrains Fixes Controversial Dev Tool Subscription Policy

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2015-09-18 Print this article Print
JetBrains subscription model

Now, on Sept. 18, JetBrains CEO Maxim Shafirov offered an apology to the company's customer base for failing to properly account for all the considerable groups of customers and to properly articulate the company's reasoning for the move. He also laid out where JetBrains is going with its subscription strategy in six steps:

"1. We are moving forward with subscriptions with important adjustments.

2. You will receive a perpetual fallback license once you pay for a year up front or 12 consecutive months.

3. You will receive up to [a] 40% discount for continuous subscription.

4. You will be able to use the software without an Internet connection.

5. Current customers with active or recently expired upgrade subscription get first two years of subscription for the price of one.

6. We still recommend you take 10 minutes to read it all for the complete details."

Among the key areas of concern among JetBrains tool users was that they might lose access to tools they had already paid for if they didn't keep paying monthly or annual fees. However, JetBrains says it has addressed this with perpetual fallback licenses.

In a FAQ of sorts regarding some of the most contested issues in the JetBrains Toolbox, Shafirov's post said: "This is the most controversial topic. We didn't realize how many users would differentiate subscription based services such as cloud hosting, monitoring tools, communication tools or repository services from an IDE, despite some of these also having downloadable versions. We expected a lower entry cost and flexibility would outweigh the perpetuity. We believe though that now offering perpetual fallback licenses, which was also suggested by many who provided feedback, will address this concern."

Indeed, Shafirov defined the perpetual fallback license as such: "The monthly or annual payment is a subscription fee; however, when purchasing an annual subscription you will immediately get a perpetual fallback license for the exact version available at the time. This license will allow you to use that exact version of the software should you decide not to continue with the subscription after the year is up. If paying on a monthly basis, as soon as you pay for 12 consecutive months, you will also receive this perpetual fallback license providing you with access to the exact version of when your 12 consecutive months subscription started. You will receive perpetual fallback licenses for every version you’ve paid 12 consecutive months for in a rolling fashion."

Although many customers continued to voice concerns, the perpetual fallback license appears to have alleviated the concerns of others.


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