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Rant: What’s up with Rove Mobile

With the latest developments, Rove Mobile seems to be getting lots of negative attention and I agree with it. First they got rid of their freeware stuff, their screen capture software and the file manager (which became freeware several months ago). The only way to get them is if you have a purchased product from them.

Then they got rid of Mobile SSH and Mobile Desktop products, integrating both into ridiculously priced ($595 plus 18% enforced maintenance fee/yr, total of $681) Mobile Admin. Many applications I have used includes the at least the first year of upgrades free of charge. Rove Mobile decided to charge extra (possibly a marketing trick to allure you to buy, but this is nothing new, it is an ongoing practice since their Idokorro days).

MobileSSH and Mobile Desktop products were priced extremely high as well, $99 each. At least then you had an option, you didn’t have to buy a function packed solution to get what you needed, plus they were quick to start and connect. Now that they are integrated into Mobile Admin, you have to go several more steps before you even get a chance to connect, so it feels like Rove Mobile is trying to rip customers even more. This is especially true, considering their original price in 2006 was $245 and then in 2007 it went to $495 and now $595. The rival Shape Services TSMobiles RDP client costs only $34.95, no maintenance fees, unlimited upgrades. Similarly their VNC+ is only $19.95 (Mobile Desktop supports both RDP and VNC, but still $64.90 is a lot cheaper, considering you don’t pay any yearly maintenance fees). For SSH, unfortunately MobileSSH is the best I have used, the freeware MidpSSH comes nowhere near.

I have used their upgraded Mobile Admin server and client, and to my surprise Vista and Windows 20008 is not supported (kudos goes to their QA department ;))

Considering Mobile Desktop development has stopped, even if you have a maintenance agreement, you will not be able to connect to Vista and Windows 2008, God knows when this will be supported. The weird thing is Vista has been out for sometime, so why it is not supported by Mobile Desktop (or Mobile Admin) is a mystery (TSmobiles supports it fine)

I think the main issue is that they are focusing more on the Enterprise Market, and us end users or SMBs are getting screwed, but wait it does not end there. With what seems to be a company re-structure or at least a corporate clean-up, the resellers are to getting a hammering from them. What’s been experienced is that those resellers that have had good turnovers with the products in their respective regions globally have been given preferential treatment and allowed to hold onto there Reseller Agreement from when it was Idokorro. Here is the screw over, those that have a slower market to contend with and have not had that turnover like the other resellers have simply been told you have to re-apply for your Reseller Agreement and here are the options. Their high-end reseller option has full support and maintenance, higher kickbacks on sales with them but there you have to pay them $10,000…yes…$10,000. The second and third tier options are not much to write home about, limited support, lower to no kickbacks. Rove get with the program, most vendors who break out of their own countries borders have varying options to cater for the multitude of markets out there. Lastly stop messing around with the Customer Portal, when customers cannot access this to attain and update devices and licensing, they scream blue murder.

So what have your experiences with Rove Mobile been? Please share your thoughts…

(Special thanks goes to Gareth, who shared his experiences related to Rove Mobile, especially Resellers portion)

9 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. I, too, have been less than impressed with Rove’s recent marketing decisions. What’s even worse is that they won’t even give customers the courtesy of a response — I sent an inquiry politely asking for Rove to reconsider their decision. FYI, I received BlackBerry delivery receipts from no fewer than seven people at Rove, including their VP of Sales, but not one response — that tells me where the BlackBerry user community sits in Rove’s eyes.

    That being said, I actually purchased the Rove Mobile File Manager product from Idokorro (predecessor to Rove), so I do have access to the now unsupported download of Mobile File Manager. I frequently use it on my 8830. Now, since it was offered as a FREE product, I have another question. What about now redistributing the freeware package? Would someone from Rove care to jump in with an answer?

  2. They haven’t “screwed” anyone unless they did not deliver something which was paid for. This is commercial darwinism. They certainly have thr right to price themselves out of the market.

    Btw, to the poster above, I wouldn’t go distributing someone else’s software unless it’s specifically allowed by the license. Just because they were giving it away for free doesn’t mean they relinquished their IP rights.

  3. I don’t know you but in my opinion forcing resellers to sign new agreements constitutes as “not delivering”.

    Changing licensing schemes and forcing you to switch also goes into same territory.

  4. I doubt they forced anyone to do anything. That could lead to nasty things like criminal charges of coercion or something like that.

    No one needs to agree to be a reseller. If you don’t like the terms, sell something else. If enough resellers refuse the terms, they’ll get the message when they close out their next quarter showing a steep drop in revenue. If they don’t see that steep drop then maybe they made the right choice. Maybe they know something that’s not obvious to the rest if us.

    Personally, I think it’s a mistake because you make more money in volume selling software than niche big ticket selling. However, some niche products like CAD or accounting programs have to charge a high price because they’re never going to sell the volume needed to recoup R&D costs and still turn a profit. Maybe they feel their products fall into the latter category.

    As for “not delivering”, you took my words out of context.

  5. @Ed: I have absolutely no intention of redistributing without permission. I was just hoping that someone from Rove might have the courtesy of actually responding since e-mail has gone unanswered. Their silence does not create positive PR for their flagship enterprise products. Changing the marketing strategy of their Mobile File Manager from commercial to free to non-existent over the course of six months or so (plus a company name change) makes people wonder if the company really knows their direction forward. Will they do the same to Mobile Admin in another six months after customers have paid ridiculous amounts of money for the product? Most likely not, but one never knows based upon their history.

  6. Sems, thanks for bringing your concerns up and allowing others to contribute — I find these conversations very insightful and helpful as we shape our products. I also find it amazing that our products have had such an impact on the industry where people want to talk about what we do

    I wanted to give you and your readers (and commentators) a deeper explanation as to why we’ve made the changes you identified, starting with Mobile Admin.

    Mobile Admin is a different product from what Idokorro launched 7 years ago. The biggest change is the licensing model: We used to charge $245/server with unlimited users and now we charge $595/user with unlimited servers. This model is actually less expensive for most organizations so, in fact, we’ve made it more affordable.

    The standalone versions of the products we have integrated into Mobile Admin are licensed in perpetuity so you own them – no need to stop using them if you don’t want to. We decided to focus our attention on THE product that our customers have deemed our best offering and make it even better. Unfortunately, this meant diverting all our development resources towards it and the casualties were the free products.

    As for our partner program, a little more detail can be found in a blog post on our site: http://www.rovemobile.com/blog/?p=121#more-121 but know that we kept those that were producing.

    I’m sure you and your readers can understand why we did these things, it’s simple really – we want to continue to create the best software in our space that satisfies our customers’ needs and these were the steps we needed to do to ensure that.

    Comments are always welcome.

    Rob Woodbridge
    President & CEO
    Rove.

  7. What a dumb move.
    I had just finish my 14 day trial of Mobile SSH and was really really happy with it. No more carrying around laptops and 3G dongles.
    I thought this is definitely worth $95. When I went to buy it I discover they’ve discontinued it!

    $595! It would be cheaper to move to a Windows CE device and buy from Pragma.

    Right, I’m of to try to get MidpSSH http://www.xk72.com/midpssh/ to work.

    Daniel

  8. I first wanted to say thank you to Rob for coming to this site and giving an “official” response.

    But I do think the major issue many of us have with the new pricing structure is as follows: (now this is mainly what I deal with, but I’ve talked to others who are in the same boat).

    I don’t touch anything to do with Microsoft servers or Lotus or things that Mobile Admin are specifically built to deal with. All of my servers are LAMP servers (Linux / Apache / MySQL / PHP). So when I came across MobileSSH, I knew this was exactly what I needed to handle everything with my servers. I also grabbed the Mobile File Manager. And with these two products I had my perfect “away from the office” suite.

    Now both of these products have been rolled into the Massive “do-everything” Mobile Admin product. I really wish there was a way for you to have a secondary product, call it an “indie” product which rolls up MobileSSH with Mobile File Manager and sell that for $99.

    Many developers in the gaming industry are familiar with “indie” vs. “commercial” pricing plans. This allows the entry point to be much lower for the “indie” or the single developer as opposed to the larger corporation with a much higher budget. Now this type of marketing might not work for Rove Mobile, but I do wish you could offer something like the current Mobile Admin 4.1 and then a secondary product called Mobile Admin Lite (MobileSSH+Mobile File Manager)

  9. Rob,

    Thank you for coming forward and sharing your thoughts.

    The Mobile Admin was $495, prior to adding Mobile SSH and Desktop to it and then it jumped to $595. I don’t agree an expensive product like Mobile Admin needed yet another price hike. Plus, still there is no Vista/Windows 2008 support.

    Also, as for the perpetual licenses, what good are they if you cannot use the software with even Vista. I’ll probably will continue to use Mobile SSH as it has no alternatives, but TSMobiles will definitely be my Remote Desktop solution (as I already had a license for it and works great).

    You say, the toll was taken on free products. I can understand no longer spending development time, but why not continue to offer as a free download???

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