ABB is trolling me...

I don't know what trolling" is outside of fresh water fishing.

Seems to me to be day-to-day business. You got a price for licensed software. Is buying the software likely to solve the problem or maybe just do a better job defining the problem? Is the problem big enough to warrant solving it by buying the software? What's it cost to not buy the software and live with the problem? what would it cost to look for alternative hardware/software solutions?

I don't expect answers, but the questions are what people 'talk amongst themselves' about when faced with continuing expenditures to keep equipment running. my experience, $1700US for software to program a critical machine is not unreasonable. That's more than I've paid for drive or HMI software, but less than I've paid for PLC software.

There are platforms that have free software. Some are great (Red Lion Crimson) while others are...less good (Allen Bradley CCW). I haven't found a lot of correlation between price paid and quality, though. Like David_2 said, It's always come down to, "How badly do I need it?"