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back to article Microsoft: Subscription-only apps? Not for us, yet

Even though Microsoft Office won't be following Adobe Creative Suite down the subscription-only path anytime soon, you'll be renting your software before you know it, say Redmond bods. Adobe announced that Photoshop and the rest of its industry-leading graphics software would no longer be available via the retail, perpetual- …

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Silver badge
Windows

And why should they?

Microsoft is already walking this path with their Office 365 subscription model. But as long as the common Office products bring in money then I'd say Microsoft would be a fool to whack that simply in an attempt to gross in more money. I doubt even they are that stupid (but I have been proven wrong before on those opinions, so who knows...).

Personally I think Microsoft couldn't afford a move like this, not right now while they admitted that their latest "flagship" has indeed entered some rough weather.

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Anonymous Coward

Greed

I am still using Office 2000, working fine, no problems.

Why should I upgrade? Just becasue M$ thinks I should? The incremental benefits of upgrades of word, excel ae just not worth talking about.

No way , Jose.

Will reveret to the many free options, which will surely come along.

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Meh

Re: Greed

Well to be fair to Microsoft, they aren't actually forcing you to upgrade. They release newer versions and extol the virtues of new version as does just about every other software company on the planet. They also tend to support the older versions of their software for a lot longer than if not all, then certainly most software companies. If it works for you then fine and dandy, don't upgrade.... but why should they stop making new versions for others just because you don't feel that YOU need to upgrade. Personally, I would never use subscription based software myself but others might. The bulk of businesses may consider the Adobe option too expensive and not come onboard, in which case they may be forced to reconsider, if they do get onboard and it pays off then you can put a guarantee on not only Microsoft, but many other companies following suit.

........... and then as you say there is the free option, and although they would suit mine and many others purposes, for many these leave a lot to be desired.

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Linux

Re: Greed

As long as there is still a choice, but will they still keep the "Activation servers" on after their software is no longer covered? If not, then every version of XP, Vista, Win 7 and Win 8 will become worthless, the same is true with most of the recent Office releases, actually, anything that has to be "Activated".

So it seems he might actually be forced to upgrade, ok not forced, he can choose to use scissors and glue to make documents when Microsoft decides to not "activate" his software anymore.

I'm just going to get used to using OpenOffice or some other free choice earlier rather than later. Not because it's price is free, but because it's free from activation.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Greed

"Greed - I am still using Office 2000, working fine, no problems."

Agreed! Curious to know what new features absent from legacy Office are a must-have for users now...? For simplicity set the ribbon aside, and assume that the free 2007 Office compatibility viewer renders file formats changes moot...

With Excel for instance, RTD and millions of rows were important advancements in 2003 and 2007 respectively. But many users wouldn't notice these. Excel graphing has been extended as has the feature list of PowerPoint. But what I'd love to know is if a significant majority of Excel and Word users could simply use Office 2000 just as well for 99% of tasks?

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That twitter post

The thing is, for the longest time when people have purchased a "boxed product", they haven't actually purchased the product, but rather a license to use said product, so to claim that subscription plans are wrong because you never own the product is missing the point, because you never owned the product in the first place.

HOWEVER, the concept of paying the same amount of money over a period of time as purchasing the license outright, and then losing access to the software if one stops paying is certainly a step backwards.

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bed

"more than a quarter"?

M$ marketting have created a certain amount of confusion with Office 365 there being in excess of 14 options include various hosted Exchange server e-mail options for which there are some reports of large companies signing up. So, "more than a quarter" may be just all those seats (and Client Access Licenses) migrating from an in-house e-mail system to hosted e-mail. While the beans counters will see this is a sensible move, they may be less than amused when, in some indetermined future, the installed version of Outlook stops working with the then current version of Exchange Server.

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Joke

"The benefits to consumers are huge"

An MS joke, that is.

The only way users will all be on subscription models within a decade is if they pull all packaged products. .. and if users fail to realise that there are are alternatives out there that don't open up a vein to marketing blood-suckers.

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Anonymous Coward

Problem with Subscriptions

I think they are doing us all a favour - they are saying the current version is so good they can't actually do offer anything that would make a rational person upgrade - so what they want to do is eliminate the competition - which is basically previous versions of Photoshop. Once enough are locked into having to pay a fee they can can basically cut development costs to minimum

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Silver badge

Re: Problem with Subscriptions

There is one plus... maybe.

They should not need to add bloated pointless "features" to try and get people to upgrade and keep the money flowing. Stuff like Acrobat or Nero where the core features have not changed much in years, they just keep adding more junk (yes I want to put flash videos in my PDF).

But once you subscribe the bean counters will not want to pay for anything that will not bring in more money, and software will stagnate.

Then again how long until they start offering upgrades on subscriptions. Upgrade your Office 365 subscription to Office 365 double good edition for a small additional fee each month.

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Mushroom

I have already switched

Yup, I saw the undeniable value of switching... to openoffice! I fail to see any benefits that M$ Office provides me that would be worth $20 per month. I think that I would need a lapdance and a pint on Fridays to sign up for that.

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Silver badge
FAIL

People can see the logic in the subscription model for online services. You are using a facility that costs money to maintain.

"Renting" software that runs entirely on your own PC is just an almighty con pure and simple and most people can see that.

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Anonymous Coward

Translation

Bull to English translation for "The benefits to consumers are huge"

"Due to consumers no longer upgrading their software as often (as it already does what they want it to do), we need to introduce a subscription model to lock them into perpetually giving us money instead."

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FAIL

He added, "Within a decade, we think everyone will choose to subscribe because the benefits are undeniable."

Yeah, the benefits to the vendor are undeniable.

Customer gets screwed.

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Unhappy

M$FT Corrections and Clarifications

An earlier quote

He added, "Within a decade, we think everyone will choose to subscribe...

should have read

"Within a decade, we think everyone will be using Libre/Open Office if we keep this gouging up."

Disclaimer: I'm perfectly happy with my non-subscription, pre-ribbon copy of Office 2003, thank you.

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Unhappy

I'm just grateful I'm retired and don't have to make such decisions (on behalf of the boss). In my earlier life I used to run a fairly sophisticated Artroom. To now make a decision on whether that Artroom should go "subscription only" is onerous to say the least, particularly since we tended to run the immediately preceding versions of most of these programmes, which hopefully have had the bugs removed.

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Anonymous Coward

Vae victis!

for the conquered have no rights.

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Not worth it

I dumped photoshop as soon as they introduced the subscription model. Its great for the vendors bank balance not great for the consumer.

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Devil

Re: Not worth it

People pay for Photoshop? Who knew?

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FAIL

Re: Not worth it

The Adobe subscription model could have been brilliant for users (like me) that don't use their software frequently enough to affort the massive price-tag, however might have signed up for a month or so at a time for the odd project now-and-then.

If it hadn't been rediculously over-priced that is.

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Silver badge
Flame

"you'll be renting your software before you know it, say Redmond bods"

In the case of the software that *I* use, the only way they could possibly achieve this magnificent feat is to kill the open PC platform and make it impossible to run Linux.

Even if they managed to do that using so-called "secure boot" or whatever, I feel I would probably sigh, shrug my shoulders and take up gardening rather than succumb to the exhortations of some clueless MS drone who thinks they can entice me to rent software that I could otherwise obtain from elsewhere for free.

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Adobe might have been fine if they had chosen a more reasonable price

If the release cycle for a product is 18-24 months then you can probably expect users to upgrade on average about once every 2-4 years. If the cost of an upgrade is around £200 then this makes the cost of ownership for that product £50-£100 per year (not the £200+ that Adobe are charging).

A subscription plan set at around that price point would actualy becomes reasonably sensible for many end users - satisfied customers who keep up-to-date with the latest versions pay roughly the same amount (depending on how frequently they upgrade) while users who will only use the software for a intermittently (for example writing up a CV or a short project) can use the fully featured product for a lot less than if they had to buy the boxed edition.

Of course even with the pricing set competitively its still a matter of trust, which is not something that many large software companies have an over-abundance of at the moment.

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Silver badge

Why the subscription model?

Perhaps the software industry has caught up with the real world.

The big advances have been made, the growth is over. Look at the the Peak Apple articles and the burning of the PC market.

http://www.ted.com/talks/robert_gordon_the_death_of_innovation_the_end_of_growth.html

I've no idea if the analysis is accurate, but its interesting, looking back over the massive innovation, followed by massive global consolidation. I'm not sure where we go next. Maybe we'll have to start making things again, rather than relying on economies of scale and financial shenanigans.

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Mushroom

Two more nails in the PC coffin

Yes. This will certainly help to stop the plummeting PC marketplace. Let's bleed the consumer completely dry before the ultimate demise of the PC. Really, do you think you'll still be using a PC in 10 years?

When you so completely price yourself out of a marketplace as Adobe has and rampant piracy sets in I guess the only alternative is simply remove the software from the open marketplace.

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This post has been deleted by its author

Alien

Here's what Microsoft really is telling Adobe ...

"Shhhh, keep this on the down-low. Rope them in quietly and don't let them know! Slow cooking frogs dude."

In a way they already got us. If you bought a new $500 Office or $200 Windows version every three years you already subscribed annually for $166 or $66 respectively.

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