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So I feel like I've been hit in the chest with a baseball bat by SAP.

First off, let me give some history. I have been a SQL Anywhere OEM partner since 2005. Now I am an ISV. We have an application that we have developed for the Transportation/Logistics industry. Using PowerBuilder on the client side and SQL Anywhere on the back end. It was honestly the combination of two perfect products.

However, I'm independent. We're a startup. And I'm basically paying for all of this out of my own pocket. In 2005 I signed a "No prepay" contract. I paid $500 a year for this contract. The cost per seat was higher then if I had bought say 1000, 5000 or 10000 seats initially. But I was OK with that. I could build the cost of deploying SQL Anywhere into the cost of the product. To me it was worth it.

Every year I received a bill from Sybase and I gladly paid it. I have a subscribenet account that gives me access to Everything SQL Anywhere from SQL Anywhere 12 all the way back to ASA8 I believe.

At the end of 2013 I did not receive a renewal. I didn't know why, but my schedule had been kind of crazy and figured it had to do with the whole SAP transition. No problem, I'll just get in touch with my sales guy James Gingerich. He can clear this up for me. Plus I have him as a Facebook friend, so it will be easy to reach him.

I sent him a message asking him if we could talk. He said sure, no problem, whenever. He asked what was up. Said I needed to discuss my contract. That's when he hit me with the big news. "Oh, I thought you knew Jeff. SAP laid off ALL of the sales guys from Waterloo". I was literally in shock. I told him that I had not heard. We talked about what his plans were, etc, and that was more or less it.

After that, I made some contacts with SAP to see who was handling my contract. I was told that the Business Objects guys handled the SQL Anywhere contracts now. Of course I'm thinking "Wonderful".

So finally a few days ago I get the call. I explained that I had not received my contract, or any of the SQL Anywhere 16 content like I had received all previous content. He says "Oh yes Mr. Gibson. We have your contract right here. We can get it back up and going with no problem. And great news!!! The OEM fee has been done away with". Now I'm thinking "THIS IS GREAT!!" I can get my contract going again and it won't cost me anything.

Then he hits me with the SAP DEATH BLOW!! "All you have to pay is the support fee every year". I should have known not to ask the next question. "OK, how much does that cost". His response. "Oh, it's only $3,000 per year!!". Like that was supposed to make me feel better.

Now I'm sitting here thinking. Not only is PowerBuilder floundering, but I may very well lose my ability to bundle SQL Anywhere in my product without gutting my checking account for $3,000 that I don't even have.

I would absolutely consider this SAP killing the small development shops. I can get my hands on multiple other databases for practically nothing or free, yet I've always gone with SQL Anywhere because it is the best. Plain and simple. But when they are ending a sentence with $3,000.... That is a number my checkbook can't handle.

Is there anybody there on the inside that might be able to point me in the direction of how this issue could be corrected? Is there another path I can go down with SQL Anywhere??? Another pricing structure??? Anything???

I swear. Every day I turn around, SAP is doing SOMETHING to screw the small development shops.

I would love to hear what others are hearing or catching on this. My point of disappointment with SAP is at such a level that I'm to the point of putting an email together to send to the upper brass at SAP. This is literally unacceptable.

In my opinion.

Thanks everyone.

Jeff Gibson
Intercept Solutions - Hope to continue to be an OEM Partner
Nashville, TN

asked 01 Aug '14, 18:48

Jeff%20Gibson's gravatar image

Jeff Gibson
accept rate: 20%


I agree with this view. I was really upset with SAP's decision. I always just bought licenses for the projects I wanted to use SA. I am with this database since its childhood as Watcom SQL. I was a true aficionado for this product. Besides ground breaking features I always liked the provision of free EBFs. I never needed support contracts for SA. But of course I appreciated the EBFs. Now SAP wants to make money of the small guys with silly and often - in my case - unused 'insurence'. Very nasty.

Over the years, I've been tempted many times to use Open Source stuff, namely PostgreSQL. If SAP sticks with its procedure, I abandon SA after more than 20 years for my future db projects.

(02 Aug '14, 06:04) Tinu8805
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And that's the part that's the most gut wrenching. Same thing here. Been working with SQL Anywhere since Watcom 4. It was amazing back then!! Now all they are doing is destroying what is a very lucrative revenue stream for them. The small development shops. I'm so disgusted with this. I'm hoping and praying that this post can get some traction and catch the eyes of management at SAP.

(02 Aug '14, 06:27) Jeff Gibson

If I have to claw my way all the way up to the CEO of this company. I would love to get some follow ups from the following individuals at SAP that used to be the iAnywhere division.

Mark Culp
Chris Kleisath
Mike Paola

Please tell me if I have missed the boat somewhere. I would like for this and the PowerBuilder nightmare to go away and SAP to finally wake up to the asinine decisions they are making that are hurting some many development shops.

The three of you know me well enough to know that I have been a loyal developer of your products for two decades. We've been at multiple conferences together and know each other well. Any info you can pass on to the small development shop communities would be greatly appreciated.

(03 Aug '14, 04:21) Jeff Gibson

Mark, Chris and Mike all work in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada which at this moment is NOT ONLY in the middle of the two-week period that is called "summertime" in that part of the world, but is ALSO in the middle of the three-day "Civic Holiday" weekend which serves to celebrate nothing more than "not working"., don't expect to hear from them in the next few hours (hic! :)

I'm pretty sure I can speak for them on one point: They have absolutely no influence or control WHATSOEVER on the status or future of PowerBuilder, so don't even bother asking them about that.

Here is some Untergangsstimmung you might not have heard: The Denver development center has been closed. Dave Fish has been fired. PowerBuilder 15 is being renamed PowerBuilder 12.6.

(03 Aug '14, 15:13) Breck Carter

I wasn't aware of the Holidays, so I'll just make sure to BTTT until they are back in their cubicles. I'm fully aware that they have nothing to do with PowerBuilder. Just seems like everything that I've worked so hard towards over the last 20+ years is getting yanked away from me at the hands of a company that I never thought would even do something remotely close to this.

Could I see Oracle doing this??? Absolutely. Never once thought SAP would.

I talked with Dave Fish on his last day, so I was aware of what happened to him. Disgusted would be an understatement. I had heard that PB15 would probably change. Although I thought it would possibly get rebranded PB16 so it would match up with SQL Anywhere.

It just feels like to me that if enough people make enough noise, that SAP will look up and take notice. Like nothing happens unless the CEO of the company catches wind that there is a petition in the works. Then they throw their hands up and say "HOLD IT NOW!!! LET'S TALK BEFORE YOU DO ANYTHING DRASTIC!!!"

(04 Aug '14, 02:33) Jeff Gibson
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Jeff - let me look into this further to see what can be done. It may take some time to navigate the process but I'll see what options may be available to you. Since this is your OEM contract we're discussing, let's take this offline at Shoot me an email and we can continue the discussion there. Thanks. Regards, Mike

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answered 04 Aug '14, 09:35

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Mike Paola
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Mike - I'm pulling the information together you requested to send to you. Anything you could do to help with this issue would really be appreciated!!

(05 Aug '14, 02:56) Jeff Gibson

Not that It helps you any but we prepay our licences and have found ourselves in a similar situation.

We now have to cough up a %age of the licence fee every year for access to EBF's which effectively increases our costs by 5% for every customer we have! I can tell you that it is quite a considerable amount of money that we can build into future customers charges but not all those who have signed up already.

We have given up and rolled over. We had a number of customers on board to fight it including someone who is spending hundreds of thousands a year and they just were not interested. Take it or leave it!

I wish you luck.

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answered 06 Aug '14, 08:37

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accept rate: 9%


> they just were not interested

They were not interested in fighting SAP over the cost increases, or they were just not interested in continuing to do business with you? (I can make a guess, but the difference between the right and wrong answers is just too extreme :)

(06 Aug '14, 11:51) Breck Carter

In this case "they" is SAP who were not interested in discussing the cost increases to the point where they would not even meet with us! It was clear there was no discussion to be had. Either accept it or use another product.

(06 Aug '14, 12:04) RADicalSYS
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You need to contact Mike Paola at his email address above. He is in the process of contacting/meeting with SAP to see what is going on and what can be done to hopefully correct this issue. We have multiple individuals that are starting to contact Mike now so we can show that there is a large group of ISV style companies that can't afford to pay these large SAP support fees, and need a model that fits the style of company that would be the small type shops. Would love it if you could do that.

(11 Aug '14, 14:43) Jeff Gibson

Jeff - I know we had lots of back and forth but wanted to close the loop on this thread. I touched base with your AE and understand the two of you have discussed options that will allow you to move forward. Bill - per our discussion, you also now have an understanding of the different options for your particular situation. I hope this helps alleviate some of the concerns expressed in this thread. If not, I would encourage you (or anyone else running into similar problems) to reach out to me directly at Thanks.

Regards, Mike

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answered 20 Aug '14, 09:22

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Mike Paola
accept rate: 22%

Mike - I want to thank you for all the help you were in getting SAP to budge in an area where there would normally NEVER budge. I have some other thoughts but I will send those to you offline.

(21 Aug '14, 03:19) Jeff Gibson
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@Jeff: I don't work for an ISV but as an inhouse developer, so the current topic does not immediately concern me. Nevertheless I would be glad to know if the intervention by Mike (or others) may have made the license situation for you more acceptable - if that is something to be made public here, of course.

(21 Aug '14, 03:45) Volker Barth

Sounds very familiar. We've used Sybase SQL Anywhere for over 10 years...since Version 5.0 and PowerBuilder since Version 4.0. The new SAP Website is a horror to deal with; absolutely horrible. I'm fairly certain it was designed by a moron with a Napoleonic complex. We just got our invoice for support and there's no way in hell we're going to renew. What support? We've decided that it's easier to convert our apps to MS SQL and far less hassle than trying to do business with a mindless juggernaut like SAP. SAP isn't interested in the small developer. Unfortunately for them, there are alternatives out there. Take a look at Visual Studios coupled with Telerik's less expensive than PowerBuilder and their support blows SAP out of the water. F em.

Bryan Jones Clinical Software Solutions

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answered 02 Aug '14, 07:35

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I was just going back over some old emails that I got from some individuals at iAnywhere back in the day. They were doing perspectives on ISV style companies. Doing huge stories on these companies and highlighting them on their website. This was amazing, because Sybase/iAnywhere understood what the smaller shops meant to their products. Now SAP comes in and is clueless to what tools they have at their disposal. And beyond that, who uses them. Now they look at it and treat it as a product that they can possibly integrate into their bigger products, and **** the smaller developers.

(03 Aug '14, 04:17) Jeff Gibson


Contact Mike Paola (his email address is above). He's going to meet with the SAP group and see what he can do to possibly find a way for shops like ours to get a lower rate that would work for the smaller shops, etc. The more people that let him know their concerns, the better chance we have of making something happen. Let me know if you can help out with that. Thanks Bryan!!

(11 Aug '14, 14:50) Jeff Gibson

Yeah, I contacted Mike. I didn't get a whole lot of satisfaction. We downloaded that last EBF for PowerBuilder 12.5 and it's corrupt and will not extract. Escalated to Sue Donnell and she's missing in action...absolutely no response silence from Mike for 24 hrs. I'm not paying a support contract that level of "support".

(14 Aug '14, 06:43) Bryan
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Hi Bryan - I had forwarded your issue to Sue Dunnell since it was related to PowerBuilder. Sue had replied to you yesterday (perhaps it was after this posting). The last I saw was that you re-downloaded the EBF and were going to let her know if the issue has been resolved. If you tried and are still running into issues, then I will ping Sue again to work with you to try and resolve.

(15 Aug '14, 09:48) Mike Paola

FWIW: I spoke to Mike and he says that he responded back to you more than once - has his emails not reached you? (check your spam filter perhaps?). PowerBuilder is managed by a different organization within SAP so Mike has asked Sue Dunnell (note the spelling) to help you. Mike indicated that he will contact Sue again today. HTH

(15 Aug '14, 09:50) Mark Culp

Bryan - closing the loop here. I've been in touch with Sue and see that you were able to successfully install the PB EBF and that you are no longer able to duplicate the problem you were running into - glad to see it's resolved.
Regards, Mike

(15 Aug '14, 11:43) Mike Paola
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Jeff, your story is EXACTLY our story, our size, our situation. You seem to have more hope than I do that something can change.

I have given up.

But having said that, if I can support your cause in any way, please do let me know. bill-at-aumenconsulting-dot-com

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answered 05 Aug '14, 11:48

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Bill Aumen
accept rate: 16%

Bill. I'm curious what kind of products you've developed, development tools you've used, etc? My thoughts were if we had a portfolio of products that we could use as a proof of concept to SAP, that there is a need for price points for companies like ours, that maybe they would open their eyes some.

(05 Aug '14, 16:44) Jeff Gibson

We use PowerBuilder. (I have purchased PB 11.2 and 11.5 at various times, but each time there would be a "crisis of confidence" with PB before we made a production migration, so we still use PB 10.5).

We develop vertical market products, our three most recent are: Electronic Community Health Record, Child Protection Case Management system, and a financial system.

Our clients have 10 to 400 employees. Our installations have 5 to 150 users. My company expands to 5 developers, and contracts to just 1 (which is me) depending on what we have on the go.

I too was an OEM with the same arrangements that worked for us. And I discontinued my OEM agreement for your same reasons.

My good fortune in the current SAP debacle is that we just completed a major system and right now there is just me, enhancing one system for a single client. It isn't easy switching technology, but at least I am in a lull where it is possible.

I still love the product itself. And the people in Waterloo who have always done a fantastic job. (interestingly, James was our rep as well.) But I see NO HOPE at all that SAP has any interest in continuing to work with small potatoes like us. And the good news/bad news is that the product is certainly capable and suitable for the big time. So I don't expect the folks in Walldorf to spend any time looking back with regret.

Sigh... They say that all good things must end someday... or maybe you aren't old enough for that one :).

(05 Aug '14, 19:38) Bill Aumen
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question asked: 01 Aug '14, 18:48

question was seen: 7,202 times

last updated: 21 Aug '14, 03:45