MapTiler got back to me about my assertion that it was unfair to remove download links for older versions of their software that customers had paid for. MapTiler changed their pricing model to a SaaS model so they now benefit from charging customers annually for access to the software, and are forcing customers to upgrade to annual payments. They are not providing links to download the older versions. This is the opposite of almost all companies I can think of.
This time the conversation was switched from Jadek to Jiri. Jiri made several mistakes when he sent his message to me. I replied to Jiri as shown below with Jiri’s initial words prefixed with a ‘>’ symbol and my reply in bold . The main points are:
- Jiri tries to divert the conversation, implying that I am suggestion indefinite updates for older versions :sigh:
- Jiri uses the Internet Archive to provide a copy of the licence. I’ll let you come to your own conclusion on that.
In the next episode Jiri redefines the definition of ‘perptual’ !
> Hello Johnny,
That is not how I spell my name.
> Would you be OK if I joined the discussion and tried offering a mitigation to the dispute?
The mitigation is to re-instate the download links to the older versions of MapTiler Desktop so that folks like me can still download the old version they paid for and for which you advised was for PERPETUAL use on a single computer.
> Here it is: https://web.archive.org/web/20210117223621/https://www.maptiler.com/desktop/license/
> The license agreement also mentioned that the software relies on 3rd-party components and open-source libraries.
> These non-in-house components are one of the reasons why we did several major releases and many smaller updates since January 2021
Totally understandable that you want to improve and update your software. But there is no good reason for not keeping the links available for the old versions. Most companies that I can think of provide links to their legacy versions. Granted this does not need to be indefinite but removing the links after 2 years is a nasty move after promising PERPETUAL use.
> Even if we wanted to, it is not in our capacity to keep all older versions of the software viable.
I have never asked that you keep older versions ‘viable’. I do not know where you are getting that idea from. All I am asking is that you continue to provide links on your website to the older versions as they were published at that time for another few years to cater for the legacy customers who purchased a perpetual license before you changed the pricing.
> With that in mind, we keep only the latest version of the software fully up-to-date
> and do not guarantee 100% flawless operation for the older versions.
I am not asking for support for the older versions. I am asking that you keep links to the downloads of the older versions for a few more years.
> That is also why 1 year of free maintenance service was included in your original purchase.
It was not ‘free’ maintenance service. It was included in the price.
> That way, we are able to offer our customers development support and bug fixes for free,
It is not ‘free’. It is included in the purchase price.
> and they could opt for the second and third years for just 32 USD annually.
Those maintenance fees are to access updates to the software. I never asked for updates. All I wanted was the links to the version I purchased to be available on your website.
> As far as your personal account is concerned, we have never deactivated it. It has remained available since 18/2/2021.
Then the user experience needs attention. You’ve already created tickets right?
> Just one more thing: do you think I could ask you not to label MapTiler as a swindle?
Sure. When you reinstate the links to the older versions that people have paid for.
> the transition to SaaS is a just decision
I feel that you have mis-used the word ‘just’ here. The definition I have is “based on or behaving according to what is morally right and fair.”
Morally your decision to swindle your previous customers is not fair. Customers paid based on the pricing and license available at that time. If you made a mistake with that pricing you should acknowledge your mistake and move forward as you have done – but you do not need to shaft the customers that got you to that point.
> If that would be the case, here are 2 tools that you might find handy:
Thank you. No doubt I will be investigating freedom-licensed solutions from here.
> If you would like to jump on a quick call, I will happily meet you next week
> and discuss how we can conclude the case just between us.
The solution is simple. You could reinstate the download links on your website to the old legacy versions. Other companies do this (you don’t want me to make a list do you?). It would be reasonable to advise customers that old versions are unsupported and that a valid license is required.
If you do not want to provide the links on your website then can I check with you that the conditions of the license appear to allow me to make copies of the software:
“Copies. The Customer is entitled to make copies of the Software, provided that all copyright notices and other legends of ownership are reproduced on each copy or partial copy of the Software. “
There is no mention in the license restricting distribution. So I assume that means that I would be within the terms of the license to make a copy of the software and make it available for your customers to download. The customers still need a license of course but at least I would be helping the customers that you have cast adrift.