"many developers such as myself who are not writing off-the-shelf apps "
Embarcadero wasn't able to cope with the evolution of the PC market. When they made TP and the first version of Delphi, basically MS/DOS and Windows meant desktop PCs only. The landscape was filled with local databases like dbBase (and clones) and then Access.
From the late 1990s the PC market became far larger because hardware supported also powerful enough servers on x86. RDBMS started to replace fully shared files databases. Soon, you also get open source ones like MySQL or Postgres.
You could now also need to write server-side applications, not only desktop ones. And then the Internet boomed.
But Delphi looked unable to cope with this changes. The SKU are still the same of twenty-five years ago. The Pro only allows for local databases. You need the Enterprise to target RDBMS - even the "lower end" ones, as if only the larger companies still run them. The Architect contains tools that are replaced every year - and you're a fool if you start to rely on them.
Server-side development - what would have justified a more expensive "Enterprise" version - was stubbornly ignored for a long time (even the Windows service implementation was stuck to NT4-era APIs well past 2015), and security a joke. They added iOS/Android apps development, but their framework, like Java Swing, wholly draws the GUI (lately some native components can be used). That's also what happens now under Linux. You'll need something alike "styles" to get the native look.
With web applications shrinking the need of desktop GUI applications, their market shrunk a lot. Embarcadero though the solution was increasing the prices, and try to move actual customers to more expensive versions through license changes, instead of understanding the need of deep changes and aligning its offer to the new landscape.
I do believe there is still a lucrative niche for desktop applications development, especially in Windows, but Embarcadero is working hard to squeeze customers, and those who can are forced to alternatives.
FreePascal/Lazarus can work, but you may not have available some great libraries like Developer Express and a few others that help a lot to deliver good complex applications - and they add to the costs as well.
Moreover today rarely you deliver a complex application using a single tool - often there is the need to deliver a server, a web application, a desktop one, mobe ones, several utilities, etc. Your budget needs to take into account all of that. If a single tool costs too much, and can deliver only a small subset of what you need, it can't usually justify its price.