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Subscription Based Apps; Not My Cup of Bitter Tea

Adobe®, the maker of the Holy Grail, Photoshop just flipped the bird to every designer, artist and hobbyist on the planet. From now on, their industry standard software (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Dreamweaver, Acrobat, etc.) will only be available through subscription. That’s right, you will get another bill. And you can never own it again (CS6 is the last version that you can own). In essence, what they have done is turn a product into a service.

I’ve been using Adobe® software since 1993, and it totally sucks that I won’t be able to buy CS7 for $2,500 and use it for 7-10 years before upgrading. Instead, what I get is the equivalent of CS7, 8, 9 etc. for $50/month (The price will go up, you can be sure of that). If you are a creative professional, you will have the all of the newest tools at your disposal 24/7 plus every bit of software they make. And that’s great if you want all of the above. But what if you don’t? In actuality, Adobe has taken away our freedom of choice.

The subscription-based model makes perfect sense for the developers at Adobe, but it makes no sense for me, the user. And sadly, this is a trend that has slowly been picking up momentum for the last decade or two. It’s nothing new to some IT departments, who have ongoing contracts with their software providers, but for those of us who are used to paying for an app just once, this could be a bitter pill to swallow.

And Adobe® isn’t the only one jumping on the bandwagon. On January 29, 2013, Microsoft® released Microsoft Office 365 Home Premium for $99.99, but for a one-year subscription only. They sweeten the pot by offering you automatic software updates, 20GB of extra storage on SkyDrive (Microsoft’s Cloud storage service), and 60 Skype world minutes and use of all the Office programs on up to five computers or tablets. But what if I only want to update every few years? What if I don’t want Cloud storage?

Luckily, Microsoft® is still offering the software at $219.99 for those who just want to download it once. But how long will that last?

This new trend of subscription-based software appears to be an attempt to extract more money from the user. How so? By offering all those services together, companies can create the impression that you’re getting lots of value from the subscription service, but honestly, that value only works if you use all of the parts, otherwise you’re paying for stuff you don’t need.

shutterstock_69907915So what is a disgruntled user to do? Whenever a company or institution tries to force people into a situation where they only have one choice, the old adage; Necessity is the Mother of Invention comes to mind. All of those disenfranchised users are going to be looking elsewhere for software that they can own. And guess what? There ARE developers that have products out there already.

Take a look at these Photoshop rivals being offered at a great price. And there will be more developers in the near future happy to woo people away from Adobe® by offering them a product that they can own. I’m considering it if Adobe® doesn’t give me a choice when I’m ready to upgrade.

So there is real hope if you still want to own software and don’t want the one-size-fits-all-never-ending-bill scenario.

Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.

—President Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. gilbertspeaks

    That’s a bummer. At work, will your employer pay for that app?

    1. Shelley Szajner

      Yes, Marie, my employer is going the subscription route for our software, and is paying for it as well.

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