ArcGIS: strong enough for Server, pH balanced for Desktop

James Fee pointed out how ArcGIS is undergoing minor rewording as part of the changes coming to the software at version 10.1.

Those were the good ol' days

One thing to note is that the ArcView license level is now Basic, while the ArcEditor level is Standard. While this brings ArcGIS (for) Desktop in line with the terminology used to describe current ArcGIS Server licensing (Basic, Standard, Advanced), something about ArcEditor being Standard strikes me odd. Perhaps it’s part of being in academia too long, but it seems like ArcEditor isn’t a big seller for ESRI. To me, those looking for the additional functionality over what is offered with ArcView would opt for ArcInfo, completely bypassing Editor. Also, we have (almost) always had ArcInfo licenses for the computer labs, while the Educational Time-out discs provided to students would have the ArcView level license. This two-level mentality must resonate with more people than just me. A recent change is that the last time I requested discs for ArcGIS 9 at the beginning of 2011, ESRI sent us 9.3 ArcEditor-level educational discs. And the ArcGIS 10 education discs I recently received are ArcInfo level. So is ArcView going to be phased out as the “entry-level” ArcGIS? And is ArcEditor ArcGIS for Desktop Standard going to see a decrease in price?

While I personally will miss the quirkiness of ESRI’s licensing terminology, I can see why it is being done. The progression of Basic, Standard, Advanced is clear while View, Editor, Info is not. Especially with the fact that some people are still using ArcView 3 (uninstall, already!) which is completely distinct from the ArcMap program in ArcGIS (for Desktop) 8.x and later.

What’s still unanswered for me is what happens to some of the other “ArcGIS” products. ArcPad? ArcGIS Explorer? ArcReader? They don’t get fancy new names?

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2 Responses to ArcGIS: strong enough for Server, pH balanced for Desktop

  1. First off, love the title. I wonder how many readers get the reference.

    Secondly, there are two distinct issues here. The obvious one is the rebranding, but the more serious one is the proliferation of mutually-incompatible applications within the Esri product line. The way I see it, the former is a feeble attempt at fixing the latter.

    I have been saying for years that ArcEditor was a mistake; it introduced nothing but confusion. My solution: Have distinct product lines for server and desktop. For the desktop: Drop Editor like a bad habit. Bundle its functionality into ArcView. Have two desktop products: ArcView and ArcInfo.

    The name recognition of ArcView is formidable. To walk away from it is beyond silly. This is Marketing Basic.

    • John Reiser says:

      I agree. So many people use ArcView and ArcInfo to refer to ESRI’s Desktop products that it does seem like they’re throwing away a significant chunk of their well-established branding.