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NI's New Software Subscription Model


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4 hours ago, Rolf Kalbermatter said:

If you can understand this you also can guess where NI is heading. They won't die and their shares will likely not falter. But what they will be has little to do with what they used to be. If LabVIEW still has a place in this I do not know.

Wow. Thank you for a valuable post Rolf. All of that helped me answer and understand so many open questions I had. When I look at recent NI actions from these angles, it does all make sense. 

It doesn’t make me happy, but at least I can understand it.

Edited by Reds
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4 hours ago, Rolf Kalbermatter said:

T&M was good for a steady revenue, but nothing that would stand out on the yearly shareholders report. It was unsexy for non-technicals and rather boring. That was one of the big reasons to separate HP into multiple companies. An attempt to create smaller entities that target a specific market segment and could be fine tuned in the sales and marketing efforts to the needs of that market.

HP spun off the T&M into Agilent, who grew into the Life Sciences industry.  Agilent then spun off the T&M into Keysight.

Personally, I'm expecting NI to spin off the T&M part of their business into a new company in the next 5-10 years.  Whether or not LabVIEW is part of that, I have no clue.

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3 hours ago, crossrulz said:

Personally, I'm expecting NI to spin off the T&M part of their business into a new company in the next 5-10 years.  Whether or not LabVIEW is part of that, I have no clue.

They own Digilent, MCC (and with it Data Translation) and a few other companies that all work in that segment. So yes it would make sense to combine that all into a new independent company and make it self supporting.

So far they didn't seem to do much with it. It almost feels like it was mostly about buying up competition than any specific long term strategy to build something out of it.

Edited by Rolf Kalbermatter
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1 hour ago, Rolf Kalbermatter said:

It almost feels like it was mostly about buying up competition than any specific long term strategy to build something out of it.

Isn't this the case with many acquisitions by NI? Buy it up and let it languish instead of developing or integrating it?

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15 hours ago, Jordan Kuehn said:

Isn't this the case with many acquisitions by NI? Buy it up and let it languish instead of developing or integrating it?

Yes and acquisitions like DasyLab, MCC and some others clearly fall into the category of buying out competition. Lookout, Electronic Workbench and HiQ are a bit a different sort of story. They were bought to buy knowhow and specific market presence and were for some time actively supported and improved by NI. But then they discovered that they could not compete with the big guys in those markets unless they would be willing to really invest lots and lots of money. And I don't mean a few millions but for each of them a real significant junk of the entire budget that NI had for the whole operation. The other problem was that most of the NI sales people had pretty much no idea about what they really were and consequently couldn't sell them very effectively. Their natural instinct was to point at LabVIEW whenever someone came with an inquiry, even if one of these packages would have fit the customer much better. I think it's unfortunate for each of those three. They were very unique in some ways and would have deserved a more active supportive development by their owner.

Electronics Workbench had a dominant role in the educational market by the time NI bought it but is nowadays nothing more than an anecdote in the history of electronic design and development tools. That's for a big part thanks to NI's inactivity and disinterest in it. But if NI hadn't bought it it probably would have ended up as another product of Autodesk or  similar, that would sort of market it but really try to nudge the user with soft force into moving to their main product instead. And nothing much would have changed. 😀

Lookout wasn't the biggest player in the market by far but its architecture was very clean and very unique and not encumbered by countless legacy hacks from other SCADA packages that existed in the market since when DOS was the main operating system for them.

HiQ was more like Mathematica than Matlab in many ways but still different enough to deserve an independent existence. Of those three only Matlab remains as still a surviving product. 

Digilent would seem to be again a somewhat different story. I can not see where they possibly could have been a significant competition to NI nor what NI was really expecting from it. I think that it was more acquired as a pretty unfinished idea to create a stronger educational presence and then the market analysts came and killed that idea. MCC in the new NI also clearly isn't any competition anymore to anything they do.  Rather it could serve as the entity that combines all the remains of old NI and some of the brands that still have some promises and haven't faltered beyond the possibility of reanimation.

Edited by Rolf Kalbermatter
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On 5/4/2022 at 3:21 AM, Rolf Kalbermatter said:

LabVIEW never has been a money maker for NI directly. They were able to develop LabVIEW because of what they earned with their hardware sales. And LabVIEW was used to drive those hardware sales. A very successful model that drove others like HP Vee and such out of the market in the not very long term. Maybe HP/Agilent also was simply already to big for that market segment that they could possibly target with a product like this. The entire T&M component market isn't that huge. For HP it was what they had been starting with, but the big money was earned (and sometimes biggly lost) already in other areas. T&M was good for a steady revenue, but nothing that would stand out on the yearly shareholders report. It was unsexy for non-technicals and rather boring. That was one of the big reasons to separate HP into multiple companies. An attempt to create smaller entities that target a specific market segment and could be fine tuned in the sales and marketing efforts to the needs of that market.

About 10 years ago NI reached the size where they started to feel the limitations of the T&M component market themselves. There simply was not a big enough market left that they could capture, to continue their standard double digits yearly sales grow for much longer. Some analysts were hired to look into this and their recommendations were pretty clear. Don't try to be the wholesale everything for all little parts manufacturer in T&M, but concentrate on specific areas where big corporations with huge production lines invest their test and measurement money. Their choice fell on semiconductor testing and more recently the EV market. It has a huge potential and rather than selling ten-thousends of DAQ boxes to hundreds of integrators, they now sell and deliver hundreds of fully assembled turnkey testers to those corporate users and earn with each of them more than they could ever earn with several 1000 DAQ boxes.

What used to be NI's core business is nowadays a side line, at best a means to deliver some parts for those testers. But more and more a burden that costs a lot of money in comparison to the revenue it could even under ideal conditions generate.

If you can understand this you also can guess where NI is heading. They won't die and their shares will likely not falter. But what they will be has little to do with what they used to be. If LabVIEW still has a place in this I do not know. Personally I think it would be better if it was under the parapluie of a completely separate entity than the new NI but I also have my doubts that that would have long term surviving chances. Earning enough money with a development environments itself is a feat that almost nobody has successfully managed for a longer period. But the sometimes heard request to Open Source LabVIEW has also not a lot of chances. It would likely cause a few people to take a peek at it and then quickly loose interest, since its code base is simply to complex. And there is also the problem that the current LabVIEW source code never could be open sourced as is. There are so many patent encumbered parts in it and 3rd party license dependencies, that nobody would be legally allowed to distribute even a single build of it without first hiring an entire law firm to settle those issues. While NI owns the rights for them or acquired a license to use them, many of these licenses do not give NI the right to simply let others use them as they wish. So open sourcing LabVIEW would be a fairly big investment in time and effort before it could be done. And who is willing to foot that bill?

This is a good summation of the problem.  Thanks for sharing!

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Now this is fun...anybody else tried to download a old version of LV that was used to develop  projects and noticed that you can't actually download it any longer?

I asked for a memory stick (hard copy) for 2021 but never got it. Looks like we may have paid for a perpetual license that we can't get access to download in the future.

image.png

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9 minutes ago, FixedWire said:

Now this is fun...anybody else tried to download a old version of LV that was used to develop  projects and noticed that you can't actually download it any longer?

You need an active subscription to download previous versions. This has been the case for many years.

Quote

Previous versions are available only to customers with an active standard service program (SSP) membership.

 

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1 hour ago, FixedWire said:

Of course I get that you need an SSP, darn good thing I'm paid up until August...and I never got the media.

Looks like somebody didn't tie their shoe laces.

image.png

I"m not even sure they still have USB sticks. CD's and DVD's definitely are not available anymore (with software bundle downloads with the size of 40 to 50 GB that would be also unpractical) 😀

Most likely the USB sticks sank on the way from China to the European warehouse, so there is something like a 50 weeks delivery time for them. And who said that WITH MEDIA means a physical tangible item. A download could just as much be considered media and since you have a valid SSP you should be certainly able to download it. The challenge might be to assign that serial number to your user account, especially if you are one of those who explicitly likes to never register your products with the manufacturer. Unlike most other products, where such a registration is just to collect email addresses for marketing purposes, the LabVIEW serial number registration actually makes a huge difference. 😀

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40 minutes ago, ShaunR said:

Looks like The Pirate Bay is going to become NI support. :ph34r:

They and others have repeatedly provided installer downloads that are supposedly cracked to circumvent the serial number license check. If that is true or if they are actually modified with other less friendly hacks that may install a backdoor on your system instead, or maybe a nice cryptolocker ransomware, is always the big question. 😝

As long as they just mirror the standard offline installer image, not even NI would likely have any problems with it, but why would someone sacrifice server space and internetbandwidth on their system without wanting to get something back in return? 😀

Edited by Rolf Kalbermatter
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26 minutes ago, Rolf Kalbermatter said:

 but why would someone sacrifice server space on his system without wanting to get something back in return? 

Who says you don't get something in return? Someone makes LV 2020 ISO available and maybe downloads Moon Knight.

Don't tell me you are new to this torrenting malarkey. :D

I have a 12TB Nas box. A few hundred gigs of karma is nothing.

Edited by ShaunR
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48 minutes ago, ShaunR said:

Who says you don't get something in return? Someone makes LV 2020 ISO available and maybe downloads Moon Knight.

Don't tell me you are new to this torrenting malarkey. :D

And someone downloading Moon Knight in addition gives them like what? Eternal gratefulness?

I know what torrents are and have played around with it's predecessor eMule a little. eMule still exists as I found out recently but its servers are mostly taken over by people who want to push things down your throat that you would never ever want to touch with a ten foot pole. I'm not sure why torrents would be that much better to be honest. 😀

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35 minutes ago, Rolf Kalbermatter said:

And someone downloading Moon Knight in addition gives them like what? Eternal gratefulness?

Open source freeware and torrents have a similar ethos. You should at least understand that. Why do people help on the forums? What do they get out of that? What do you expect to get for your invaluable help here? Time is money, right?

BTW. They are rhetorical questions to hopefully instill a little cognitive dissonance at your out-right rejection of torrents and similar. I think it's very clear from the posts here about accessing old versions the service these torrents could provide IF NI was happy with it. You just seem to think it would never happen because, what? Game theory?

(Moon Knight episode one has 2117 seeders ATM:D)

Edited by ShaunR
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3 hours ago, Rolf Kalbermatter said:

They and others have repeatedly provided installer downloads that are supposedly cracked to circumvent the serial number license check. If that is true or if they are actually modified with other less friendly hacks that may install a backdoor on your system instead, or maybe a nice cryptolocker ransomware, is always the big question. 😝

I've never ever encountered such releases, if speak about LabVIEW and other NI software. Maybe they were pre-LV2009 releases with some 'evil' cracks, but from what I saw, people are seeding mostly genuine files plus some tiny ... eh... "cure", that does nothing except modifying those *.lic's in \ProgramData\National Instruments\License Manager\Licenses. But I don't encourage anyone to use torrents. Why bother, when it's often enough to google a little to find the links to the distros 🙂 (if not already collected).

Edited by dadreamer
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3 hours ago, ShaunR said:

What do they get out of that? What do you expect to get for your invaluable help here? Time is money, right?

Yes time is money and I like to kill some time sometimes. 😜

More specifically I have learned a lot by investigating those questions before I could post an answer or example how to solve something. As we are speaking I was actually trying to find an open hikvision camera on the net to try to do a few things. Rather than having to hack a camera, or find a hacked private one, which seems rather easy for HikVision cameras if my googling didn't fail me, I would like to have an officially open camera somewhere instead. But that proofs not so easy to find. There are several sites that list open cameras of various types that can be simply accessed but none so far seems to be a HikVision camera. Most of what I see are Panasonic, Axis, Mobitix and a few others. 😆

Edited by Rolf Kalbermatter
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I understand Rolf's concern, and others should listen.  However of all the NI software I've gotten from non-NI sites, nothing has ever came with anything nefarious.  They typically package the NI software untouched, along with the things that are shady separately.  That shady stuff might be executables that perform activation, DLLs or EXEs that replace functionality after an install, or applications that generate offline activation codes. 

That being said I'd still not encourage anyone from getting NI software, from anywhere other than NI's site.  Policies like this make that pretty difficult.

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I still have a SSP subscription called "Multi-IDE Bundle". This allows me to use all programming languages from NI. So I am happy. For a little time more, as this Bundle is no more. So I am stuck with what I have. Which is also fine with me.

For all the software I don't have SSP for, I can still download them and activate them on a trial basis. You get the usual 7 days or so of trial. 

However, if you avoided installing a License Manager version newer than 4.7 ( that is software released before 2021 or so ) you will be able to set back the computer clock to the installation time for a certain module and then the module will run as activated again for some days. This is clearly not usable for commercial purposes except testing and learning.

So you can download old evaluation software made before 2018..2019 from the NI FTP site as mentioned and test/try it and get wiser. Without stress.

The catch here is that you should not install anything new marked as 2021. Like LabVIEW 2021. It will install a License Manager stamp'ed 2020 or newer, where NI has removed support for the clock set-back feature. And you cannot revert to an older License Manager except by re-imaging.

2018 was also the year where NI introduced their "Big Business" initiative. View some the NI-Days videos from 2018 to see the NI Sales excitement. Updated DIAdem, FlexLogger, InsightCM, InstrumentStudio, SystemLink and LabVIEW. 

But since then nothing meaningful new released related to LabVIEW. So LabVIEW 2018 SP1 will be my final version for some years. Actually, NI deliberately removed features from 2019 so I cannot use it, nor any newer version.  
  
Regards
Henning     

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