Macromedia Dev Net Subscription?

I’ve been a loyal Macromedia DevNet subscriber for a while now. I’ve encouraged others to subscribe. Today I got my third notice email about my DevNet subscription expiring. This one tells me that I only have 29 days remaining in my subscription. I’m torn about whether or not to renew it.

Macromedia says:
“You’ve got a lot to do. That’s why you can’t afford to let your Macromedia DevNet subscription expire. In 29 days you will no longer receive timesaving resources and upgrades to the development tools you use every day.

“Make sure you’re equipped with another 12 months of software upgrades and DRKs delivering product resources. At only $US 599*, can you afford not to renew?

I say:
Well Macromedia, it’s been nice and all, but what does my $599 really buy me. I’ve not been all that impressed with the DRKs lately. Originally they were great, but I’ll be real honest, the last two or three haven’t done much for me. Yes I’m busy. Yes I like not having to worry about software upgrades. But the problem is that it’s really cheaper the other way around. I still have to hassle with upgrades for certain software that I use (like Director) and if I’m hassling with one, why not with all. Heck a Studio upgrade is about half the price of the DevNet renewal.

What would make upgrading a no brainer (even if it cost more):

1. Make DevNet include more software (think MSDN). If DevNet included a broader range of software it would be more valuable to not have to hassle with upgrades. Include Director, RoboHelp, RoboDemo, etc. Macromedia for a long time has wondered how to get Flash users to use Director, I say give it to them in DevNet.

2. Information on what to expect in the coming year. I don’t need a lot of details, but I’m sitting here thinking there was just a fairly major free Flash upgrade, will that be all I see from a DevNet renewal? All I’m asking for is that the assumed 18 month product cycles aren’t really 24 month product cycles leaving people who moved to DevNet during an upgrade out every other year. In the past year of DevNet the only upgrade I’ve seen has been to Contribute.

3. Cross Platform licenses. I don’t use a Mac at the office and a Mac at home. I use a Powerbook and a WinXP desktop. I only develop on one system at a time. Shouldn’t my two install license be useful on both of these systems (assuming I follow the usage guidelines?).

4. Central. Assure me that whatever Central development tools are made available are well supported and included in the DevNet subscription and I’m in for another year no problem.

5. Quarterly subscription payments. Okay so this one probably isn’t too feasible, but let’s say I’m renewing at $599. It would be great for me to have $175 billed each quarter to my credit card. Bill me when my CD ships. I know this is more expensive for Macromedia, but I’m willing to pay for balancing the load across the year. It makes keeping several seats current more affordable and I’d bet that would be appealing to businesses that don’t fit the volume license program but still have several seats of Studio. It also has the perk that Macromedia gets sustained revnue from subscribers over the whole year, not just at renewal time.

Like I said earlier I’m really torn about this renewal. I use these products all the time. I think they’re the best tools on the market for my needs. This is really just a financial decision. I’ve got to weigh what I pay against what I get. I’m a big supporter of a subscription model for software sales, but the subscription shouldn’t cost more than what you get if you don’t subscribe. The only benefit I’m seeing right now is that I can deduct 100% of the subscription rather than depreciating it like my accountant does with all other software.

I may still upgrade, I’m on the fence about it. I’d certainly like to believe that I’ll get value from a DevNet subscription over the next year. I welcome your comments, especially if they include other reasons for renewing the DevNet subscription.