Re: APCC v1.9 and one-year renewal subscriptions #APCC


Karen Christen
 

Hello Mr. Jones,

 

TL;DR: Thank you for sharing your concerns.  I’m sorry we have disappointed you.

 

I’ll try to address some of your points here:

 

While I hear you say that the mount will continue to operate using the current version of APCC Pro, will that still be the case 5, 10 or 15 years from now? If APCC Pro breaks due to changes to the Windows operating system or due to updates to other 3rd party software I use with mount, are these considered “bugs” or “enhancements”?

As long as we are in business (and my future depends on that being the case for quite a while yet), you can continue using the version of APCC Pro you have now, if you like.  If APCC Pro breaks due to changes in Windows or other software, the required update is considered a bug fix and will be available for free to all license holders, regardless of how long they’ve held the license.  As an example, the new Eltima driver has caused some issues with APCC.  The fix, included in APCC 1.9x, is available to everyone.

 

As I understand it, AE mounts require APCC Pro so if we purchased a mount with encoders we are locked into paying the higher $100 vs. $50 annual maintenance fees.

As Roland mentioned, no AP mount requires APCC.  There are other software options out there that will operate your mount.  APCC Standard and Pro were developed specifically for AP mounts so we know how the software works and can provide knowledgeable support.  You are not required to pay anything, ever again, if you so choose.  If a future version of APCC includes new features you want and your license is less than 1 year old, the upgrade is free to you.  If your license is more than one year old, at that time you may elect to renew your subscription for $100.  This could be 7 years from now, and your new upgraded APCC will include ALL new features introduced in those 7 years.  (Since your license is less than a year old, v1.9x is free to you.)

 

Looking over the changes to APCC over the last 5 years, I am not seen anything that would justify a $100 annual maintenance fee. Other than the couple of changes announced yesterday what other “enhancements” would we have needed to pay for over the last 5 years under the new Software as a Service (SaaS) model?

We have not charged any fees whatsoever, in the last 5 years, or any other time.  However, we do feel that some of the new features in v1.9x are worth a fee for folks whose license is more than one year old.  Regarding your characterization of this as a SaaS model, I respectfully disagree.  SaaS programs cease to operate if you don’t pay a recurring fee, which is not the case for APCC.

 

I think of Astro-Physics as the “Apple” of the astronomy equipment manufactures. I have had Apple products for many years and I don’t ever remember having to pay a maintenance fee to update my devices to the latest version that included both bug fixes and enhancements.

Being as Apple has one of the highest Net Promoter Scores (an indication of customer loyalty) in the world, I thank you for the comparison.  As others have mentioned, Apple does indeed provide software enhancements and feature additions for free, to a point.  After a period of time, Apple stops providing those enhancements for older-model devices, and requires the purchase of a new device.  In contrast, one of our goals is to keep older equipment running and provide backward-compatible upgrades as much as we can.  Some folks are still using 30+-year-old AP mounts; we made yours to be optimally functioning for decades, as well.

 

Astro-Physics has always strove to provide premium-quality products to the amateur astronomer at reasonable prices.   One of our guiding principles is fairness – to our customers, staff, dealers, vendors, and all other stakeholders.  I hope we can regain your trust.

 

With regards,

Karen Christen

AP

(Yes, I’m the kid.)

 

From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Andrew J
Sent: Wednesday, August 18, 2021 9:58 AM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] APCC v1.9 and one-year renewal subscriptions #APCC

 

Hi Marj.

I just paid Astro-Physics $20K for a new AP AEL mount and required accessories. Now I learn that over the next 20 years I am going to be nickel and dimed for the software I need to run it. This is on top of the recent price increase for the mount itself. While I hear you say that the mount will continue to operate using the current version of APCC Pro, will that still be the case 5, 10 or 15 years from now? If APCC Pro breaks due to changes to the Windows operating system or due to updates to other 3rd party software I use with mount, are these considered “bugs” or “enhancements”?

 

As I understand it, AE mounts require APCC Pro so if we purchased a mount with encoders we are locked into paying the higher $100 vs. $50 annual maintenance fees. This would appear to penalize those of us that purchased AE mounts.

 

While I can appreciate the need to secure future revenue streams to “pay” for future enhancements, I think this is a little disingenuous to suggest that current and past customers should pay for these enhancements. Looking over the changes to APCC over the last 5 years, I am not seen anything that would justify a $100 annual maintenance fee. Other than the couple of changes announced yesterday what other “enhancements” would we have needed to pay for over the last 5 years under the new Software as a Service (SaaS) model?

 

I don’t mind paying up for the Astro-Physics telescopes, mounts and accessories as I think the quality and support is industry leading. What I didn’t expect from a company like Astro-Physics is to learn after purchasing a mount that I need to pay an annual fee just to keep it up-to-date. I think of Astro-Physics as the “Apple” of the astronomy equipment manufactures. I have had Apple products for many years and I don’t ever remember having to pay a maintenance fee to update my devices to the latest version that included both bug fixes and enhancements. I am just a bit disappointed that AP would be adopting this SaaS model that seems to be taking the industry by storm.

 

A Jones


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Karen Christen
Astro-Physics

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