Citing the weak economy, SAP has cut the cost of developer subscriptions for its NetWeaver platform by roughly 50 percent, according to a post this week on an official company blog.
SAP began offering individual developer subscriptions for the technology about a year ago, in an apparent effort to draw additional interest. The company has been trying to move customers still on older systems onto NetWeaver-based platforms like ERP 6.0, and also working to resolve an SAP skills shortage in the job market.
"You may be curious as to the reasons behind this reduction," wrote Claudine Lagerholm, senior product manager for SAP Developer Network subscriptions, on Monday. "Since the launch, many of you have been vocal about the subscriptions program, particularly how it should evolve over time, the geographical expansion needed, and to some extent the pricing. We've heard some subscribers say that they've received a great deal of value for the money; however, we've also received feedback from others that the financial burden for individual subscribers was rather high."
"As you are all aware, the economic landscape has changed very drastically in the last few months, so we've decided now was a good time to adjust the pricing," she added.
NetWeaver Development License subscriptions now cost $1,170 and €1,071, down from $2,300 and €2,082.50. A lesser-featured NetWeaver Composition License is now priced at $520 and €476, a reduction from $1,100 and €1,011.50.
The reduced-cost subscription package includes the same features and components as before, Lagerholm wrote. Customers who signed up or renewed on or after Sept. 1 will get a six-month extension to compensate for the price change.
Subscriptions are still only available to users in Germany and the United States. SAP is not ready to give a date for other country launches, Lagerholm said.
SAP's move brought a thumbs-up from the U.K.-based SAP consulting firm Pixelbase. "On the whole a very good move by SAP, enabling more developers to gain access to the full dev suite at a much reduced price," states a post on the company's blog. "The only remaining fly in the ointment now is the restriction to Germany and the US."
Additional comment from SAP could not immediately be obtained on Wednesday.
SAP made the right call in dropping the subscription rates, said Jon Reed, an independent analyst who monitors SAP skills trends and runs the Web site JonERP.com.
"The issue is that they want more people using this [technology]," Reed said. "I think at the pricing levels they had before, it was a little more cost-prohibitive for the individual who might benefit most from this kind of thing."
Changes in the overall IT landscape are also affecting how proprietary platform vendors market their development tools, Reed added: "You have this whole open source Internet culture that feels you shouldn't have to pay to be a developer for a company."
This story was updated on Nov. 19, 2008.