Why Kylix did not generate big revenue back in 2001-2003
Kylix is known to have generated moderate millions in revenue. That is not enough to make it really interesting. As outlined elsewhere in this document, there is an extreme strong market demand for RAD Linux development, and the competition is rather weak. This has already been the case back in 2001 when Kylix was released. Therefore it is needed to find out what hindered Kylix to become a commercial success back then.
Bad pricing scheme: Kylix was completely missing a reasonably-priced entry-level version. The smallest “Desktop” SKU was priced at $999 in the US, and even higher internationally. Without a affordable version available for hobbyists, one of the most important factors that led to Delphi’s success on Windows did not work as good as it could have had: Building a community spreading the word widely, creating components and articles for it.
Steep learning curve: Using Kylix required the existing Delphi customers (who usually run Windows) to install a Linux box. Back when Kylix was invented, VMWare and other virtual machines have not been common yet, so for many this meant having to buy another PC.
Limited market: Kylix was mainly focussed on Desktop GUI applications, as back then the Linux Desktop market was expected to rise quickly during the dot com hype. It didn’t, instead there has been a steady increase of the Linux Server market during the last 6 years, leading to a stronger interest in RAD solutions for server software development (Web applications, application servers, middleware etc). Kylix wasn’t marketed for this due to the strong focus of the product on Desktop applications.
Wrong market strategy: Kylix was marketed as bringing Delphi into the Linux world. It wasn’t marketed for bringing Delphi customers to that platform. The money would have been in Windows developers trying to extend their product reach into the Linux market. Kylix however was marketed in a way that was expecting long-time Linux users to suddenly accept Windows paradigms – the wrong way round.
Lack of patience: Kylix was only granted 3 years to establish itself in the market place – due to the first two Kylix versions being in an experimental state (extreme high number of bugs), the time the quality Kylix 3 was given had been even shorter than that. Borland quit all support shortly after the release of Kylix 3 which didn’t exactly help to build confidence. What’s worse, the community that already had formed around Kylix back then and was willing to help by fixing the bugs in the product was alienated by not allowing them to release their bug fixes due to legal stuff taking over 1.5 years inside Borland. This frustration was taken to the outside, and let to Kylix 3 never see a single update fixing the problems it had.