Disappointed in how JetBrains does subscription licensing

Posting this here because, quite frankly, I'm not sure where else to say it.

I bought AppCode when it first came out.  Great IDE.  But you guys really blew it with your upgrade licensing. My original subscription ran out on 12/29/12.  Because I wasn't using AppCode I decided to wait on renewing, expecting (mistakenly) that my year of upgrades/support would start the date I bought the upgrade, not based on when I originally purchased the tool. The other night I purchased an upgrade because I'm getting back into iOS development only to be surprised that I'd have to pay again come the end of December.  I don't quite understand how you can think it's right to make someone pay a full upgrade price for only a partial license.  At this point my upgrade is only good for 3 months but I paid $59 for it.  I paid for 9 months of nothing.  I would have to pay $59 again at the end of December.  I asked for, and received, a refund.  It will be cheaper for me to buy a completely new license.

To make matters worse the sales guy I was contacted by basically explained the policy and didn't even attempt to remedy the situation in some manner. He also didn't respond to other emails I sent asking for clarification. Overall this was a horrible experience.  I understand the 1-year subscription for upgrades, it makes sense. I don't get the way its implemented. It is completely unfair to the customer who is basically forced to keep paying for usage they might not necessarily use to keep up to date or pay for another full-price license.  Really hoping you guys consider some changes to the licensing. I love this tool, its far better than the tools provided by XCode.  Just angry I have to pay for a full license again.




I stopped using AppCode because of this and won't return to it unless this is fixed. I only dable with iOS in my spare time and AppCode was only used once every few months. I purchased it back then in the beginning because I wanted to support JetBrains.
With the current model I feel like I'm being punished if I'm not upgrading to the latest version straight away... even if I'm not using the product for a couple of months.

I really don't mind paying for a good product. I do hate being forced into a subscription model, but I would probably even still accept a fixed montly/yearly fee if I could cancel it and re-activate it again if I'm not using it for a while. The way the current model works, subtracting time from the license period if we don't upgrade immediately after the subscription year, really just feels wrong.

JetBrains announced the same model for IntelliJ and they didn't have the courtesy to respond to the many comments criticizing this model.

I also haven't moved to IntelliJ13 yet because of this.


+1 as well.

The license should run from when you purchase it, not from when you last purchased.

I have no problem with a renewal occuring outside of a grace period being full price instead of upgrade price. In all cases it should be from purchase date.


Thank you for your post.  First off, we appreciate the feedback and your support of JetBrains.  

Our AppCode licensing is a hybrid model and can be confusing.  That is, we offer a perpetual license that also includes one year of subscription.

If you purchase a normal subscription renewal, it will indeed backdate to when the subscription lapsed.  We understand that this is causing some confusion.

However, we also offer a past due renewal at a slightly higher price which will renew the license and add subscription to the license for one year from the date of "renewal" purchase.  We are making this option more explicit on our e-Store and also on our quotes to customers.

We are evaluating and discussing options internally and may make some changes.


bhnoll wrote:

If you purchase a normal subscription renewal, it will indeed backdate to when the subscription lapsed.  We understand that this is causing some confusion.

Hi Brian,

thanks for your response. Sadly it the term 'confusion' doesn't really apply.
To me it is not about being confused, but about feeling punished for not immediately renewing. A 'past due renewal at a slightly higher price'-option doesn't exactly take that feeling away.

When major releases of IntelliJ appear, I typically give them a try pretty quickly and I usually end up waiting for a couple of bug-fix releases first, since the first versions often contain some bugs that get in my way. Once those bugs are ironed out and I like the product, it just feels great to purchase a license. I know then what I'm getting and I like to show my appreciation by parting with my money. In the new model it feels as if I'm expected to pay, even if I'm not satisfied with the quality of the new major release yet.

bhnoll wrote:

We are evaluating and discussing options internally and may make some changes.

Please do. Another part of showing my appreciation is convincing other  developers I meet to try IntelliJ. I'm finding it harder now to convince them, since a one-time purchase is just a much easier sell  than having to commit to a long-term subscription (at a steep price  since it is payed per year in advance).

If you want to stick with subscriptions, especially for the personal licenses, it might make sense to include a monthly subscription. If a subscription would cost a small monthly fee and can be paused or cancelled at any time, it might even be an easier sell than a one-time €179 purchase. Atlassian has a great price for their JIRA cloud subscriptions at $10 per month for example. It still adds up per year, but you hardly notice it when it is charged per month.


I'm with onno..

It's the dark side of the force guys : currently you make software that's so good that most people upgrade == rolling subscription.

Wheras there are some people who don't want to upgrade straight away or don't think a release is good enough to upgrade for, or don't have the cash, and you're basically forcing them into a rolling subscription.

I've constantly been so impressed that there's no lapse in my license; I just hate to see my favoruite tool-maker playing by Adobe's handbook, who are without a doubt the biggest bas**rds in software tools going (their handbook by the way is called d*ck moves for d*ckheads).

If there's any way you guys can change this without hurting your bottom-line, I'd urge you to do it. Even raise the price of the license; but don't lock people into subscription models - programmers like to own their tools.



I currently have an AppCode license which expired last December.
Because AppCode is for a hobby and I haven't had much time recently, it hasn't been a priority to upgrade.

I just checked on my upgrade options, and the only option given is the 1 year renewal, backdated to December.
There was NO option offered for a renewal that is not backdated.

At this point, if I were to renew, I'd be paying €53 for 4 months of updates. That's €13.25 per month.
A totally new license would be €89 for 12 months of updates, or €7.42 per month.

A simple calculation shows that renewing a subscription more than 4.8 months after it expired is often not a good
deal (unless you need it only for a short period, followed by a long period of non-use).

I feel the simplest solution for individual customers would be to stop backdating of the subscription at least for
personal licenses. I think that would eliminate most of the confusion around the subscription model.

Commercial/Enterprise licenses seem to make more sense as a pure subscription model than personal licenses,
so I don't mind if you keep the backdating part there.


We are working with our marketing & web team on making a non-backdated renewal more visible and an option for everyone.  Apologies.

Actually, this thread has ignited an internal debate, as changes will be coming.

Thank you and the others for taking the time to post your thoughts.



Better late than never I suppose :)  I'm glad this thread got some attention even if it was almost a year since I first posted. I really hope the powers that be understand that for personal licenses that the current scheme makes no financial sense for the customer.  Any lapse in renewing ends up being a penalty.  It's far better to just set the 1-year term based on when the renewal is paid.  I'd even be willing to pay more for the renewal fee if that were the case.  The tool is definitely worth it the money.




Just getting this here, as I said in an email to sales I didn't like this new license model however I did renew and depending on how the next 2 years plays out I will decide if it worth renewing for another year.


I let my PyCharm subscription expire a week ago. I intend to renew after some checks come in. Today in the middle of editing, a dialog popped up asking me to pay. When I closed the dialog, PyCharm exited. No data was harmed in this strong-arm tactic  to get me to renew, because of the awesome way PyCharm seamlessly auto-saves. But this kind of brute behavior hemorrhages away a boatload of goodwill.

I know this is tangential, but it's apropos to what George Cook was saying above about rolling subscriptions and Adobe. It seems there is still confusion at JetBrains as to whether they're selling a subscription to update the software, or a subscription to use the software. Closing the program in the middle of work is very rude but makes some sense for the latter. It's an especially nasty thing to do for the former.


I've just experienced something similar. This JetBrains blog post says:

"Your license does not expire after a year, and you can continue using the IDE, but you need to purchase an “Upgrade Subscription Renewal” in order to be able to install subsequent updates."

However this morning I was faced with the following popup and no way to continue using the IDE with my license which supposedly doesn't expire.



@RoyEmerich that looks like the popup I got. It seems designed to scare you into thinking you won't be able to use the IDE any more. The IDE was forced to close. But I was able to reopen it and there was some other step that seemed to downgrade to some kind of demo mode. Then somehow I found myself in a dark alley and three guys dropped a few knocks on me, but later I was able to keep using the IDE.


Well the saga continues...

I sent an email to the Jetbrains helpdesk and received a very prompt response saying I could download and install my fallback version of the IDE from within my Jetbrains portal account.

A couple of initial questions:

  1. Since I was already using an active license and they knew who was using it, why not provide a link directly to the fallback version from within the abovementioned popup? Or better still, provide it as another option in the radio buttons.
  2. Why force me to download another version of the IDE which I'm already using?

Then I looked a little deeper. At the time of my upgrade license expiry, the version of PyCharm I was running was:

  • Version: 2017.3.3
  • Build: 173.4301.16
  • Released: January 18, 2018

I then went to see what version my fallback install is:

  • Version: 2016.3.3
  • Build: 163.15188.4
  • Released: March 17, 2017

So by perpetual license, Jetbrains means you get a perpetual license to the version of the IDE at the start of your upgrade license, not the end. The helpdesk told me I can't get access to version 2017.3.3, even though I'd paid for all the updates that went into its making. So in effect, Jetbrains just lends you those updates for 12 months and kind of hides one of the options available to you if you choose not to continue paying (i.e. to continue with your fallback version).

In the greater scheme of things it's a small issue, however for those of us who are willing to pay for a better IDE, there doesn't seem to be a sense of being given the benefit of the doubt, of being appreciated as a customer and being encouraged to come back for more. Instead I feel cheated and am actively looking at the open source IDEs again.


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