I think that 'the lawn crew' sees things a bit differently than me..
I have the new software.. "Lawn & Pest Assistant".. It is EXACTLY the same software as LA3, right down to the bugs.. To get a little technical.. they used some kind of wrapper to move it over to dot net from .. uh.. Can't remember the name of the language.. but a REALLY old and limited database oriented programming suite.. So.. the new software is not 'new'.. They did not rewrite anything.. If you move from LA3 to LPA, you can expect a slightly different font.. that is all.. Which is a shame, because it could really use some re-writing for user friendlyness and a few of the minor bugs that existed ONLY because of the limitations of the OLD programming language.
On support.. If you choose to get your support 'pay as needed' rather than monthly fee, you will NEVER.. EVER get any updates or bug fixes for the software without paying hundreds for each one.. Say you've missed 3 updates, and you suddenly need an update.. you pay for 3 updates.. not just the one you need. They have designed it so it is literally cheaper to pay the $100 per month support, than it is to not have that support. BTW if you did not have a support subscription when the new version came out, then you got to buy it again at full cost.. if you had a subscription.. then it was a $600 install fee.. still pricy... but nothing like the thousonds...
On Mapping, for me it is a must have.. RealGreen basicly wrote a plug in that manages information from map point, and charged me thousonds for it.. total price gougeing... BUT as I say, I wouldn't have the software without it.. I am a marketing go-getter... and the mapping module allows me to send out extremely professional mailings with references included automatically.. "Check out these other happy customers on your street:" I'm tellin' ya.. It makes a difference. Of course routing, and planning are in on it too.. You will have limited palm usability without it as well. bottom line, mapping is one of the things that sets RG apart from the competition, and it would pay for itself at 3 times the price.
RG makes good software.. but they're lacking in empathy. The company was founded with profit being the #1 goal.. Not making the best product, or helping service companies.. but profit.. plain an simple.. If you can handle a little price gougeing, then your gonna reap the benefits of having the best software available.. at least for now..