Allow me to buy individual features
There are many features stuck in Ultimate that would incredibly useful to any developer, however Ultimate is simply financially unviable for many existing small businesses (where BizSpark don't qualify). The ability to buy individual features, like IntelliTrace, would provide developers with more reasonable means of acquiring these features, and Microsoft with income that would otherwise be nonexistent due to the exorbitant price of Ultimate.
*Every* developer wants Intellitrace, but $15,000 is a really steep price for that *one* feature. Most developers don't want or need everything that comes with ultimate. IT is a great feature and should be available everywhere, but it isn't a $15,000 featire.
Rudi Larno commented
I agree that many features are simply not being used because they are in the Ultimate SKU (which is only for the happy few, like me, being a MS gold partner). And even when they are available, lots of other features are not being used. The whole feature matrix will most likely be like the Office Products, 100% of the features are being used, although there is no single person using 100% of the features.
My very informal (gut-feeling) statistic is that only 10% of the features are used by a person on a given project.
So Microsoft could make a lot more money if they'd follow your suggestion, providing individual features for less money (kind of like the App-store concept).
If they then provide a good means to deliver these features like: http://visualstudio.uservoice.com/forums/121579-visual-studio/suggestions/2035455-use-nuget-to-install-most-of-the-components
Then we all benefit from it.
Effectivelly... there is a huge price step but this is not the only feature that might be interesting. Profiling is another one feature that can be useful sometime as many other features (database, advanced database, architecture, advanced tests,...)
Maybe there should an offer for paying advanced features based on their usage. When buying Visual Studio, one would get some free points (depending on the product) and it would be possible to buy points package. Each point would allows to uses feature in one area for a given period of time.
David Nelson commented
This dovetails with similar suggestions to make the entire product more modular so that people can use what they need and don't have to suffer performance penalties from what they don't need.
I agree. Especially things like test manager.