Great news! Brian Harry announced some licensing changes regarding Visual Studio Online:
…As a result of all this feedback we proposed a new “Stakeholder” license for VS Online. Based on the scenarios we wanted to address, we designed a set of features that matched the needs most customers have. These include:
- Full read/write/create on all work items
- Create, run and save (to “My Queries”) work item queries
- View project and team home pages
- Access to the backlog, including add and update (but no ability to reprioritize the work)
- Ability to receive work item alerts
We then surveyed our “Top Customers” and tuned the list of features (to arrive at what I listed above). One of the conversations we had with them was about the price/value of this feature set. We tested 3 different price points - $5/user/month, $2/user/month and free. Many thought it was worth $5. Every single one thought it was worth $2. However, one of the questions we asked was “How many stakeholders would you add to your account at each of these price points?” The result was 3X more stakeholders if it’s free than if it’s $2. That told us that any amount of money, even if it is perceived as “worth it”, is too much friction. Our goal is to enable everyone who has a stake to participate in the development process (and, of course, to run a business in the process). Ultimately, in balancing the goals of enabling everyone to participate and running a business, we concluded that “free” is the right answer.
As a result, any VS Online account will be able to have an unlimited number of “Stakeholder” users with access to the functionality listed above, at no charge…
This means that a lot of functionality inside VS Online is available for free without the need for any kind of license!
To make this news even greater, the same licensing changes will also apply to future versions of Team Foundation Server(and maybe even for TFS 2013 Update 4).