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I was recently commissioned by a design agency to develop an iOS app for one of their clients.
Having previously dabbled with Titanium in the past it seemed like the right choice for rapid development and deployment of the app.
After development, testing and submission to the App store it was accepted and went live.
The App is:
- Free to download
- Has no in-app purchases
- Uses no Appcelerator services such as cloud storage, analytics or push notifications
- We did not require any support during development
- Published under the agencies account with copyright of the content attributed to the client.
Note: It was compiled using Titanium studio IDE
2 weeks after the app went live and had received many positive ratings a sales person from Appcelerator contacted the agency saying they needed to purchase a commercial license or the app would get pulled from the app store. (£5000)
While there was some going back and forth discussing this, Appcelerator contacted the end client telling them they also needed to purchase a license (£5000)
This is totally unacceptable. If I use Photoshop to develop a logo, would Adobe contact my client to ask them for a license as well?
It has put the agency in a bad light and made me look like an idiot for selecting Titanium over other development platforms.
Had I known this would be the case, I would have simply resorted to using Objective-C and sucked up the extra development effort. As it is, I have gone from singing Ti's praises to having a very sour taste in my mouth and it has pushed me away from using Titanium on any further projects.
1/ If I use the repo from GitHub (https://github.com/appcelerator/titanium_mobile) to build a version of the app for xcode/appstore will we be subject to any licensing issues or charges?
2/ Is there an easy to follow tutorial on how to do this from the GitHub latest files?
3/ Can Appcelerator not make this kind of licensing nightmare a lot clearer? Their pricing strategy is confusing and does not appear to make sense - a small commercial app should not cost £5000 in "licensing" fees for a piece of software.
Just a reminder: Open source != free
I truly apologize for the unpleasant experience that you’ve had here. I recognize that there is confusion around our pricing & licensing, and that is not our intention.
To be crystal clear here, our intentions are that we will not charge for development that happens under the “App Explore” product (i.e., the free version). Usage of the Appcelerator platform (Titanium Mobile SDK, Titanium Studio, Analytics and Cloud Services) at this level is permitted for all applications, both commercial and free, with no financial obligation to Appcelerator.
We realize that our license agreement and T&C on this issue has not been as clear and transparent as you would expect. We hear that this is causing you anxiety and that you are asking for clarity. We will fix these issues and follow up with explicit communication. We’ve also heard that making changes too often is confusing and stressful. We want to make sure we articulate this clearly, so please give us a few weeks to do this right.
We care very deeply about providing quality products for free to the community. We have invested a lot of time and money to have a free version of Titanium. We will continue to provide this offering and more free products in the future. This has been important to me and Nolan since we started Appcelerator, and always will be.
We are a company that provides software for free, but we also strive to have a rational, healthy commercial business model. We are not a non-profit. Our commercial success is good for both of us -- the community and Appcelerator -- as it enables us to continue to invest in offering great products that can be used for free by you.
We do have customers and partners that require a different level of support, features, SLAs, etc. and for those customers and partners we offer a different product with different licensing agreements (indemnification, warranty, etc.). For this type of additional support and set of offerings we do charge money.
We will continue to provide a free offering to the community while also providing a different model for our customers that require the additional support and set of features.
We hear you that there is confusion over our licensing and pricing, and we are in the process of adjusting these and making them much more clear. We are walking a fine line between being responsive to your feedback while also trying to be complete in our analysis – a balance that we will mess up sometimes. Getting this balance right enables us to invest back into the community with more free offerings.
We are growing fast, still learning how to understand the needs of the community, partners and customers. Sometimes we will slip up. We recognize this and need you - the community - to continue to hold us accountable when we do. Thank you for letting us know about these problems. We want and need to understand these issues, and the only way we will get better is if you continue to tell us.
Just so you are aware, and as Shannon has already stated, I've been watching this question since the moment you posted it. I immediately brought it to the attention of the team and as soon as 8:30am rolls around here on the west coast, it will get the attention it requires. I sent you an email just a bit ago in hopes of gathering more data from you regarding the issue.
Stephen did a rather great job of answering your first two questions. As for the third, the question is asked under the assumption that the license is the issue and not the information which you were given. Regardless, I do apologize for the headache, but bear with me until I get an official response from above.
Hello everyone. Thanks for bringing this to our attention.
We are trying to look into the issue before officially responding.
We understand the need to clarify some of the licensing and some of the sales training around this and our intentions were to announce this at codestrong.
Give us a little bit today to look into the situation and respond once we understand and talk with the team involved.
We care very deeply about your concerns and issues and we intend to act responsibly and professional at all times.
Jeff (CEO of Appcelerator)
Really ? I'm using Ti since 2009 and NEVER had an issue like this. Are you sure it was Appcelerator?
I'm just totally confused then. On one hand they say it's free, then you are saying it isn't and people are reporting getting told they need to put up $7500 out of the blue. I can see no statement on this one way or the other. And in the example quoted above they got really nasty to get payment, going direct to the client when he argued over the money.
Then there is the statement from the CEO, which after re-reading, says he is very sorry and this should not have happened the way it did, but he is careful and does not say that the AppExplorer is free or Open Source. Reading the Pricing page this is very clear - it says free until you need X support &* cloud services, but the UK experience appears to totally contradict this.
Is it or isn't it? I am happy to pay some money once I have a business for this model, but it is beginning to look like there is a high pressure UK sales team (where I live) who are ready to up the ante if you don't play nice and come up with the cash pretty quickly.
I am a shareholder in a couple small UK-based mobile dev teams and at one of them we had a very similar experience around the end of last year. We had assigned a bright young developer to build a very simple presentation-oriented iOS app, and the project was 90% complete. We were paying for the Indie license, for one seat, as this was entirely self contained project. We had toyed with using the open source license but wanted to give something back for what seemed like a good tool. All appeared well.
However our developer received a phone call out of the blue, from a well spoken and senior-sounding salesman at Appcelerator's newly opened UK office in which he was told that the Indie license did not allow commercial shipment of product and that we had to upgrade immediately to the $7500 offering (for which a discount to around $5000 was available if we jumped to a deal that week - it was near the end of a quarter, I guess).
Smelling a rat, I asked the developer to pass any more calls to me, because I have some legal training, I had read all the licenses very carefully and I KNEW that we were in the clear for this one.
When eventually I got to speak to the salesman, he continued, politely but firmly, along the same lines. We had to upgrade to the full commercial license "or else" various awful penalties would fall upon us.
I refused, and quoted the license documents to him. He said he would refer back to head office for confirmation because he was certain that I was wrong.
A week later he called back and said that yes I was right, the license we were using did allow commercial product development. However he strongly encouraged us to still purchase the commercial license, although I did try to explain that there was no business case whatsoever for what was effectively a giveaway project on a very small scale.
By the by, we discussed this with our client, and decided to drop Titanium completely, and moved the project to Xcode. It was finished only slightly late, and all was well. But I can imagine that this sort of thing could drive a developer with a lower technical knowledge right to the edge.
It felt like a salesman who is operating with inadequate training and too-large targets, trying to sell a "corporate" product to a customer base (ie small independent developers who actually know their shit and are actually pretty good at programming) that wont wear that sort of "corporate" pricing.
I had hoped that this was just a passing phase at Appcelerator UK but the above thread says otherwise and that there are still problems in the financial and/or management structure in this region that need to be addressed before you lose more customers. I am quite certain that the US HQ is indeed very developer friendly, but our experience and (reading above) that of other UK developers has not been a very nice one. It certainly put me off doing business with this company again.
I can say that here in the United States, I haven't experienced any of the issues mentioned.
>>This should not be happening Matt fullstop Exactly, the way the sales team have gone about this, by jumping up the client ladder, is not professional and is making me, someone who was ready to praise and promote Titanium, look foolish.
Matt is right we need a prominent way to contact dev relations to resolve these issues in a better way.
1/ If I use the repo from GitHub (https://github.com/appcelerator/titanium_mobile) to build a version of the app for xcode/appstore will we be subject to any licensing issues or charges?The source code on Github is released under the Apache Licence (v2). Because it is BSD based and GPL it allows you to take the source code and roll that into a close source project, free of any obligation to Appcelerator other than you will not sue them. Namely, allows you to build binaries that you can release without being required to expose your source code. Remember, IANAL.
2/ Is there an easy to follow tutorial on how to do this from the GitHub latest files?You will need to roll your own titanium_mobile sdk. When I started with Titanium, i read Bill Dawson's article So you want to build the Titanium Mobile SDK from source. There have been some other tutorials done, but that was the first one I followed.
My firm custom builds its own TiMobile sdk with each new Appcelerator release to incorporate some required functionality into our apps.
3/ Can Appcelerator not make this kind of licensing nightmare a lot clearer? Their pricing strategy is confusing and does not appear to make sense - a small commercial app should not cost £5000 in "licensing" fees for a piece of software.As an outsider, this I cannot address.
Us devs need a clear, unambiguous statement please. It has been two weeks and not everyone is going to be at CodeStrong.
Please state in clear terms do the license terms allow the use of downloaded versions (i.e. pre-compiled) free of charge regardless of the commercial model the app is released under.
I understand that Appcelerator needs to monetize in order to continue its wonderful products but i do not understand your policy...
Subscriptions are quite high for single developers or small companies (i asked for a sale people to discuss about that to get support but it was 5000 dollars / year !) where before you proposed 50 or 100 $ / month subscriptions.
Moreover, what about ACS push prices ? 2 of my apps for Androïd get ACS Push but now that prices are based on users receiving pushes, it is expensive to send notifications (>100 people -> 99 $ / month) and i cant tell the client "now you will have to pay 99$ / month when you send pushes". http://www.appcelerator.com/plans-pricing Some other push notifications services proposes a 1 million push free / month, fitting perfectly for pushes not so oftenly sent. They are several posts in Q&A about this but no clear position of Appcelerator about this. So no use of ACS pushes for the moment and plan to use an other solution (go back to java & objective-c to generate my own modules for push if necessary).
This is not the case... so: A) the sales person was an idiot B) The client mis-understood Or perhaps some combo... but this is for sure not the case
I completely agree with you and your dilemma. Not too long ago, I contacted the support team for help and was told it was chargeable. Of course further support should cost money, after all Appcelerator is not a charity (even charities have to make money).
Further in my conversation with the lady (UK team), she stated that if I / my company went on to develop any commercial app, a commercial license was needed amounting to a whopping $7500. The best they could do was initial 50% first install and another 50% 30 days after and that it was clearly stated in the terms and conditions that Appcelerator reserves the right to embed Ads into the binary.
So you saying that someone called asking for £5000, from my view, is believable. I don't mind paying the money - that's business (cost money to make money) but like you Malcolm, £5,000 is a chunky amount to dash out for one app project, might as well be paying an Objective-C developer the money to get your app done.
A definitive and clear statement of when an open source software becomes chargeable would work for me. On the plus side, the support on this forum is worth writing home about, these guys are completely supportive (sometimes give vague answers) and credit to Anthony Decena (who has answered some of my questions before)
so if someone mails from @appcelerator. com makes the mail sent by the company? I think every new CS kid do that.
Completely new to appcelerator and I'm one man show.
So I just contacted sales because from the plans and pricing page I couldn't tell if I could use plugins. I explained to the sales person a friend had asked me to make a mobile app for their consulting company. They offer corporate training and wanted an app for that. Sales told me to join the partner program. I've emailed them and am waiting to hear back.
I can't tell what's going on and before I invest any time I want to understand this.
Now I found this. From the partner page it talks about being a reseller? I certainly don't mind paying for a dev tool if there's a great value ad.
But from this - is this saying if you want to get paid for making apps using appcelerator you have to pay appcelerator to be a partner, and then you customer has to license appcelerator, too?
As in, you have to pay to use the dev tool and then your customer has to pay you and appcelerator? Does my customer have to spend $5000+ for an enterprise license a year on top of what they would pay me?
Or am I expected to roll enterprise licensing costs into my proposals and pass the cost through?
I can't tell what's going on - which is really discouraging to someone considering evaluating this solution.
So it looks like "Sales" are still up to their lying tricks, despite the "reassurance" that Jeff gave. It's sickening. Makes me believe we were just spun another story. IF they wanted their sales team not to do this they would have told them not to do it.
Hello can you explain the terms of license (£7500) in french language. Because is very confuse. Thanks you
hi all , i hope this just a misunderstanding
I had just settled on Titanium as my choice for my startup. That is now completely changed - I will not touch it. This is extortion pure and simple. These fees are nowhere to be seen on the website.
Fair warning: they will put up the usual sop that an inexperienced sales guy did it, to hide the fact it is common practice.
Thanks for the warning! I was literally a weekend before signing with them. Phew ;)
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