We are happy to announce that subscription based licensing of SpreadsheetWEB server will be replacing the traditional perpetual licensing model as of February 5th, 2018. This is applicable to on-premise or server deployment scenarios – our public and private SpreadsheetWEB cloud licensing model will remain as is.
What is Perpetual Licensing?
Traditionally, our SpreadsheetWEB server packages have been offered with a perpetual licensing model: you pay for the software upfront and utilize it indefinitely, so long as you comply with the terms of the licensing agreement. In addition to the licensing fees, you could also purchase annual support, which includes software upgrades and direct access to our support team.
The main advantage of this model is the lower cost of ownership in the long run. Over the course of 3-5 years, this proves to be a cost-effective licensing structure. However, it also comes with heavy upfront costs that can be more difficult for smaller organizations to afford. From an accounting perspective, these licensing fees are also considered Capital Expenditure (capex), recorded as an asset in the balance sheet, and are deducted using expense depreciation.
What is Subscription-based Licensing?
Subscription-based (also known as term-based) licensing allows you to use the software during the course of its subscription period. After the term has expired, you can continue utilizing the software by extending your subscription. This model also includes free support and software upgrades for the duration of the subscription.
This subscription model offers a lower upfront cost, allowing smaller organizations to afford licensing fees without making any long term commitments. These licensing fees are also considered Operating Expenses (opex) and are fully tax-deductible in the year that the costs are paid. Since licensing fees include upgrades, it encourages companies to keep their software up-to-date with the latest features and bug fixes.
Why are we moving from Perpetual to Subscription model?
One of the primary uses of SpreadsheetWEB is to turn spreadsheet models into web applications. Due to the proprietary nature of these models, most companies prefer to keep these models and their corresponding data on internal servers where they can retain full control. Connecting these models to their internal databases also requires SpreadsheetWEB to be installed on the internal network. While we make this possible by offering server-based licensing, the high upfront cost makes it difficult for smaller organizations to license SpreadsheetWEB. The subscription based licensing model allows them to bring the software in-house with a much lower upfront investment.
Many entrepreneurs and start-ups use SpreadsheetWEB to monetize their spreadsheet models. While they prefer running SpreadsheetWEB on their own servers, the majority of start-ups refrain from making long term investments into software products. The subscription model will allow them to deploy SpreadsheetWEB using their own preferred deployment platform, whether it is hosted using public cloud services or on their own internal data centers.
The new subscription model is also in line with our ongoing effort to make SpreadsheetWEB available on public cloud hosting services like Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure. We currently offer SpreadsheetWEB server images on AWS and will soon announce the availability of a SpreadsheetWEB image on the Azure platform.
What happens to existing customers with perpetual licenses?
Our current perpetual license customers will be unaffected by these changes. Any existing licenses will remain in place and we will continue to honor those licensing agreements. You can continue upgrading your SpreadsheetWEB servers to the latest version, so long as you have an active maintenance agreement. Any new license purchases will be subject to the subscription model.
We are very excited about our new subscription based licensing model. We believe this will make SpreadsheetWEB more affordable for many smaller organizations going forward.