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Reduce price of LabVIEW Professional from $4299 to $1500

One of the biggest barriers to entry for LabVIEW and largest negative criticism for LabVIEW is its price.


The idea presented here is to reduce the price of LabVIEW Professional from $4299 to $1500. The motivation for this is to increase the LabVIEW community to achieve “critical mass”. That is, have sufficient users that there is a large community offering advice, offering support, writing books, writing handy utilities and generally using LabVIEW.


LabVIEW is a great development environment. It can do so much, but its uptake is much less than it’s potential. On the TIOBE Index (, which measures the popularity of programming languages, LabVIEW is not in the Top 50. It could be!


Let’s examine the effect of such a change:


1) National Instruments profits: We, just like NI itself, would like NI to be successful and profitable. If the price was dropped to one third, I suspect the number of LabVIEW licenses sold would triple. So there (hopefully) should be no negative effect on profit. Hopefully, sales would increase by more than 3 times. There is the issue of support costs, however with some extra effort on addressing LabVIEW stability issues and some more tutorials, examples and broadcast information, the support issue could be addressed. (And the larger user community, which are already very helpful, would be more helpful). With cheaper LabVIEW, NI should sell more hardware, which wouln't hurt profits.


2) Existing Users. With more LabVIEW programmers, there would be more community support. With more LABVIEW use in industry, there would be more job opportunities.


3) Potential Users: The barrier to entry would be reduced and more potential users would become LabVIEW programmers. LabVIEW should also find more use with hobbyists.

Active Participant

Interesting proposal.  With evidence that you will accomplish your three effects, I think NI would listen.  So, I think you need to supporty your argument a little better...


* Why professional?  The base version of LabVIEW starts at US$1249.  Why is that not sufficient?


* Why $1500?  What data do you have that would support the idea of selling three times as many copies at that price?


* Are there additional metrics (beyond the TIOBE index) that might be more relevant for LabVIEW?


I'm also curious about your comments about the LabVIEW community.  I actually think the LabVIEW community is pretty robust and helpful.  I'd be interested in your suggestions for improving the community, as well.


Knight of NI

Brian Power wrote:
* Why professional?  The base version of LabVIEW starts at US$1249.  Why is that not sufficient?

Well, for what you actually get in the Base, I think $1249 is woefully over-priced. I'm curious to know how many copies of the Base edition are actually sold vs the others, as well as how many of the Base editions are upgraded once people realize how much you can't actually do with the Base.


As for the general issue, the cost of LabVIEW has been brought up many times before. One the one hand I agree that it seems overpriced, but then again, you do get a lot with it, so the price can be justified. To be hones, I don't really think this is going to go anywhere with NI. But maybe that's just the cynic in me talking.

Active Participant

I agree with Brian. We are always open to ideas on pricing. We take a look at a ton of different factors (i.e. market, competitors, R&D costs, etc.) that play into product pricing. If there was evidence to show that we could maintain revenue goals from software sales as well as have more people get LabVIEW, I am positive it would be well received. 

Grant H.
National Instruments
LabVIEW Product Marketing Manager

LabVIEW could probably make the TIOBE top 5 if the price were reduced to $99.  Apple charges $99 for the iOS SDK and makes its money from the app store and hardware sales.

Active Participant

I'll try to address the questions and add some more comments:

1) Why professional? It's the only "useful" LabVIEW. To me, LabVIEW without the Event structure (Base) or the ability to create executables is pretty well useless. Can you imagine any other development system that doesn't allow you to create an executable?

2) Why 1500? I took a look at other development systems and "serious" software and $1500 appears to be about the sweet spot. I can only speculate that three times as many copies would be sold. Unfortunately, the only way to find out is to try it (and wait several years).

3) Are there additional metrics (beyond the TIOBE index) that might be more relevant for LabVIEW? I don't know. However, I think it's generally agreed that LabVIEW is well down on the popularity stakes and could be so much higher. It really is a great programming environment. I'm thinking of using LabVIEW to automate my house! (as well as using it professionally at work).

4) I did mention that the LabVIEW community is helpful, but if there was a bigger installed base, there would be more helpful people.

5) I think that LabVIEW Base should be removed. The Event structure is such an important function for writing good LabVIEW code. Why force people to write bad code?

6) I wish I could provide "evidence to show that we could maintain revenue goals from software sales". I doubt it would be possible to model, except by trying it. However, I think it's important to also look at a reduced price LabVIEW's effect on NI hardware sales. My main thrust is to increase the user base. I recently tried to buy a recent book on LabVIEW and there aren't many. Apart from my work collegue, no one else I know uses LabVIEW therefore it's difficult to talk about it face-to-face. And I know a lot of engineers and programmers. If the company I work for folded, I doubt my employment prospects are as strong as if I'd spent the past two years doing Java or C#. The list goes on. There are so many benefits to a larger (or "critical mass") user base.

7) LabVIEW at $99 would not make sense. (An unsupported version for $500 may make sense, but that's another topic.)


So, how do we get LabVIEW into the Top 50 on the TIOBE index?


I should also add that a lower price will help me buy a home copy of LabVIEW for use in developing my up-coming home automation system. Yes, I know that I have a license to use LabVIEW at home attached to my work copy license, however there are two problems with this. Firstly, if I leave my job or the company I work for folds, I would also loose my home license. I'm a Windows user at work and a Mac user at home. The LabVIEW home licence does not extend across platforms. Given the thousands of hours I'll be putting into my home automation system, I don't mind spending money getting my own copy of LabVIEW. I can stretch to $1500, but $4300 is too much. 


I took a look at the Tiobe Index and I'm not sure it's a fair indicator of Labview's popularity/install base. First, only the top 13 have more than 1%. Determining ranking of those with less than one percent of the market is bound to be a challenge. Second, Labview isn't designed or targeted to compete directly with Java or C. Labview won't ever be the go to app for web developers, or software developers, nor should it be. If NI went that direction, everything I want from Labview would be watered down. In other words, Labview may never be more than 1% of the marketplace for programming.

Also, coming in at number 27 on the Tiobe Index is NXT-G. Can we count that one for Labview? I'm sure they're bundling all of the C variations so the same could apply to Labview. Are there more NXT-G users than there are Labview users? NI must have an answer for that question. Given the limited scope of NXT-G, and if it really is that popular, the hobbyist marketplace is begging for a full hardware/software platform for NI. That would address many of the considerations on this thread, and a couple of others. Maybe that could vault Labview into the top 20.


Active Participant

The TIOBE index is probably not the best of indicators, but it's all I have that provides a quantitative measure. The TIOBE index finding is also supported by the number of technical people I know that programmer in LabVIEW 9very few). If a better index is out there, it would be good to know.


Yes, I'm sure the hobbyist marketplace is begging for a full hardware/software platform from NI, but then the price would have to be much less than $1500. Maybe a commercial license at $1500 and a hobbyist license at a much lower price would be the way to go. The hobbyist license would not have the same level of support and could not be used for commercial software development.



  • I find the cost of all software a real barrier to learning.
  • 4 years ago l was an NDI person. For 2 years without NI training l had to work out how to program. Luckily l was once a motor mechanic that was used to troubleshooting.
  • 2 years ago l attended a number of online courses. However l could not go over the work because l had LV 8.6.1
  • l now have an upgrade which currently is not operating correctly but is getting there. Problem is that for the last 2 years work has allowed me to use the software at home. This could easily change for me.
  • I cannot afford the cost of the software e.g... LV suite $6666.00 (AUD)
  • To learn l has purchased over $4000 of NI hardware that is used in the training courses.
  • I work for engineers and scientists. They at uni get student discounts for all Labview software products. I do not. They earn $20,000 to $30,000 more than me. Yet it is me that gets the work done.
  • I cannot rely on NI application engineers to provide correct advice.
  • At work time is money. There is very little time to learn on the job so my training time is each Saturday of each weekend.
  • Work requires programs to operate at once. No time is provided for program maintenance.
  • I have taken on jobs that other people at work have given up on. My last job was to develop a large program that two contractors could not program to operate
  • Currently l am learning GPIB programming. I purchased the hardware 2 years ago. After online courses where l was forced to down load the then latest software my computer would not operate LV 8.6.1. So it is only now after l have purchased a new computer that l can use my hardware again. And as usual l have now a GPIB programming job. We have hardware that have no control program.
  • My last job generated the purchase of PXI controller and 2 PXI cards. Something l had to battle for.
  • What l would like is software that l can train with on the weekends. I do not want 3 licenses. I only want to train on one computer. To date l have not been able to afford CompactRIO or PXI hardware. So when it came for me to install my program on PXI hardware for the first time my program died in performance, yet it operated really well on a 2 core computer. I had to quickly learn LV 2011. I lost 3 months in programming time because l did not know about DMA. I worked it out in the end. I really hate that.
  • Most of our technical officers refuse to learn Labview. All our engineers and scientists prefer Matlab. My work efforts are slowly changing the view of Labview. However like when l developed model program to predict the projection of light for an indirect lighting hood. The comment was why was not done in Matlab.
  • I would love to get into the robotics buddle. I would use it to help my 85 year old mum
  • The fact is l as an NDI techno did not have to spend any money to earn the same amount and there is a career path to a promotion. So if work does remove the use of Labview, real time and vision development modules at home there is very little point in purchasing any more hardware for training at home. Thus little point in trying to improve my skills.
  • I like LV. It’s graphical and logical. I am image orientated. I am currently learning Fuzzy logic programming to identify objects in images to help out metallurgists.

I am sorry but this is my real world and software cost is higher in Australia than US.



Active Participant

The LabVIEW Base and LabVIEW Full are for some strange reason inexpensive in Australia. Base is $550 and Full is $1100. (Professional shoots back up to $6666).


Normally software in Australia is much more expensive than in the US. Not sure why we loose out! However for some strange reason, it is reversed for LabVIEW Base and LabVIEW Full. This aberation may be able to help you out.


Great idea. I sent to all my friends to support. The biggest LV problem is the price.