With the release of IntelliJ IDEA 13 you may have noticed changes in the Personal License terms. Starting from October 30, 2013, we have switched from the traditional, per-major-version licenses to licenses empowered with 1-year upgrade subscription. This is how most of our other products (PhpStorm, PyCharm, RubyMine, WebStorm, and AppCode) are licensed: When you purchase a new license or upgrade an existing one, you get 1 year of free product upgrades to any new versions (including major releases).
It is important to note that your license does not expire after the 1-year period ends, i.e. you can continue using the product. But to continue receiving updates after that period ends, you should renew your subscription. Note that the subscription renewal starts from the moment it’s expired. In case you don’t renew your subscription for longer than a year after, it expires and the special “past-due renewal” cost applies.
Commercial licenses can be purchased either with or without 1-year upgrade subscription. Personal licenses, on the other hand, default to the subscription model, and do so without price increase.
As a personal customer, you will never again buy a license only to find out in a couple of months that you need to pay again to get the latest product update.
The other positive news is that the difference between major and minor releases will eventually go away. “Major release in December” will become irrelevant, as you’ll be receiving all regular updates within your subscription period.