3 Replies Latest reply on Jun 25, 2015 11:37 AM by Mac89

    FMS14 Upgrade, Filemaker Hits Us w/$7,200 Bill to Maintain Existing Concurrent Users



      FMS14 Upgrade, Filemaker Hits Us w/$7,200 Bill to Maintain Existing Concurrent Users

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      This is a cautionary note for those on annual maintenance contracts for Filemaker Server who are looking to upgrade to Filemaker 14. My company got upgraded and immediately had our concurrent users drop from 25 to 1. Filemaker said to get them back, our company has to pay $7,200 despite being on a current annual contract that already had 25 concurrent users.

      I have been using Filemaker for more than 20 years going all the way back to the Claris days and long ago purchased Filemaker Server Advanced with Unlimited Connections for Go and Instant Web Publishing (although you were always limited by technical ceilings for IWP/FMGo). By paying the annual maintenance fee every year, you are supposed to get the all new versions released. Every year Filemaker sends a quote and my company purchases it either directly through Filemaker or through a reseller.

      In Dec. 2013, FIlemaker rolled out Filemaker Server 13 and officially did away with the Server Advanced version. Those that had FMSA licenses were given 25 concurrent users for WebDirect and FMGo and you could purchase more if you wanted. This is what happened to us. Twenty-five users seemed fair so I stuck with FMS13 and continued to renew our maintenance agreement every year, including in 2014 and 2015. All seemed good.

      That all changed when I upgraded us to FMS14. Our concurrent users immediately dropped from 25 to 1 and consequently crippling our live customer database. I immediately contacted our Filemaker sales rep to get the error corrected. I thought this has to be a simple entry error that could be rapidly fixed since our company was current on our maintenance contracts and we had been using the 25 users since Dec. 2013.

      I could not have been more wrong. Our Filemaker sales rep informed me that when our maintenance renewal was paid in 2013 our reseller or the middle-man processor between the reseller and Filemaker did not enter it right and the 25 concurrent users were dropped. The rep said even though this happened in 2013, it didn't get triggered until the FMS14 update was installed. The rep said there was nothing she could do and that her suggestion for dealing with the fact that our database was down was to pursue the reseller to get them to pay $7,200 to Filemaker to get our licenses back. Please keep in mind the annual maintenance renewal price for FMSA was only a little over $500 but now Filemaker wanted them to pay $7,200. The other option was for my company to pay the $7,200 for the 25 concurrent users we already had bought and were sustaining under the maintenance contract.

      Things did not add up on so many levels that I will not go into them all here. I pulled all of the quotes I received directly from Filemaker for the past six years and no where does it ever mention anything about the concurrent users. At no point did Filemaker ever contact us to say the pricing had changed or that we were losing them or that any other action had to be taken. The reseller my company went through pulled all its records and maintains that the renewal was processed properly.

      Paying a price around 14x the annual renewal just for concurrent licenses that were already part of the package was outrageous and neither my company or the reseller was about to give more money to Filemaker. I escalated the issue through other contacts at Filemaker and then began to hear a different story.

      I am now being told that all Filemaker users that had FMSA and wanted to maintain their 25 concurrent users had shelled out $7,200 and this was how it is being done now. I then asked if this is what everyone had to do, why in the world Filemaker sales staff did not adjust my company's quote or notify us that any change was occurring. It also was in direct conflict with what our account manager had said. She claimed that if the renewal had been done right we would still have 25 concurrent users for FMS14. The other rep is saying that's not the case and that anyone still wanting 25 concurrent users has to pay the $7,200. Actually, anyone wanting more than 1 concurrent user for WebDirect or FMGo needs to pay $1,440 just to get five slots, the smallest pack available. Not an insignificant number for anyone planning a WebDirect solution. You can see what your pricing is by putting your license number in and selecting the number of users at https://store.filemaker.com/US/ENG/LIC/license/index/

      While Filemaker now has at least expressed an interest in trying to work something out, I'm hearing inconsistent messages and all the new players are saying there will need to be some kind of charge to maintain our concurrent users despite our maintenance contract being current.

      If Filemaker wants to change its licensing model, that is fine. However, it cannot continue to send renewal quotes and charge customers under one arrangement and then tell them out of the blue when they install FMS14 that you now have to pay a fee equal to 35x the cost of a single FMS line item in a 2015 maintenance contract when the 25 had been originally included.

      If the sales rep is right and we are fine but for the alleged screw-up by Filemaker's reseller channel then Filemaker stills needs to make it right. Customers cannot be expected to manage a purchase through Filemaker's and its resellers systems and it does nothing to build customer good will when FIlemaker just responds with sorry we just process the orders you need to try and hunt down a company from two years ago to get them to give us more money.

      I am deeply disappointed and saddened with what I experienced with Filemaker today. It has hurt our ability to service our customers and demonstrated a lack of concern and understanding by Filemaker of its customers, not to mention a clear inability to communicate or even understand its own regularly shifting pricing model and how that relates to long-time customers.

      Filemaker has said they will be in touch tomorrow with some proposals and I have my fingers crossed. I will update here when I head back. I love the product but being ambushed like this...

      My question to the forum for old FMSA users under maintenance contracts, do you still have your 25 concurrent users after moving to FMS14? Did Filemaker make you pay $7,200 to get them back?

      Appreciate hearing what other users' experiences have been.

        • 1. Re: FMS14 Upgrade, Filemaker Hits Us w/$7,200 Bill to Maintain Existing Concurrent Users

          We had a FileMaker internal sales person mess up on one of our maintenance renewals and not include the proper number of connections - similar situation as you.  A different FileMaker sales person we now go through there (seems like they're always changing) was able to straighten it out for us by basically post-dating the proper renewal.  The fact you went through a reseller will definitely complicate things, I'm sure.

          - John

          • 2. Re: FMS14 Upgrade, Filemaker Hits Us w/$7,200 Bill to Maintain Existing Concurrent Users

            Our annual renewal increased significantly because of the increased cost for web users.   So as most of our client base just uses the actual thidk FM 14 client (not FileMaker Go or the web interface), we had them drop things down to 5 concurrent web connections to reduce our cost.   Renewing the default 25 would have bumped the cost.

            • 3. Re: FMS14 Upgrade, Filemaker Hits Us w/$7,200 Bill to Maintain Existing Concurrent Users

              I reached a resolution with Filemaker to get our 25 concurrent users back. Here are some of the key things I learned that I hope will prevent some of you from having to go through the same thing.

              This applies to those who started with FMSA and were rolled into FMS with 25 concurrent users that are on annual maintenance contracts.

              1) Be proactive. Realize that Filemaker changed pricing, product offerings and SKUs in 2014. It is where everything went wrong with us but there was no impact to make that clear until we installed FMS14 about 15 months later. Don't trust that your maintenance agreements properly reflect what you need.

              2) If you wanted to keep your 25 concurrent user licenses that came from being a FMSA license owner then in 2014 there should have been a doubling of the maintenance renewal price. If your price remained the same or went down, then you likely lost some or all of your concurrent users. Do something about it now. Don't wait until you install FMS14.

              3) Check your renewal order for 2014 and 2015. The product SKUs for FMS should have changed compared to 2013 and prior if you are keeping concurrent users.

              4) Take some time understanding the new Filemaker pricing model and what the true cost of dropping your 25 concurrent users is, especially if you might need them later. To add back 25 concurrent users costs $7,200. Also after not having changed pricing for about six years or more and then more than doubling the price in 2014, I think it is fair to push FIlemaker for a more upfront and clear pricing policy with reasonable increases. To expect customers out of the blue to absorb a doubling of price is unreasonable, especially without any explanation or flexibility.

              5) Filemaker's policy as I was told over and over again these past two days is that if the reseller processes the order wrong then that is a problem between you and the reseller. When a simple SKU issue at the reseller/processor level that changed the price by a few hundred bucks can result in a bill for $7,200, my advice is it is not worth the risk even if a reseller saves you a few bucks. If you do everything direct with Filemaker then at least all the responsible parties are at Filemaker.

              6) Think carefully about your WebDirect/FMGo concurrent user usage. These costs far exceed any other Filemaker cost associated with deploying FMS and require serious consideration. WebDirect and FMGo are great but only if your budget supports the upfront $2,484 to $21,488 price range for 5 - 100 concurrent users. Remember those numbers are just the upfront costs, you have to add the annual maintenance cost on top of those. If your usage constricts and you drop some of them and need to add them back, you will be hit with the upfront costs yet again. It will be as if you never had them.