I love software subscriptions. Nah, just kidding. Subscriptions are the trend these days, though, and it’s the big dawgs on the block who are pushing into monthly payments to use their wares. Adobe’s Creative Cloud means Photoshop and Lightroom could cost you $480 to use over the next four years.
Microsoft’s Office has a similar subscription plan which would run $336 over the same period for a single-user license, but the same $480 to use on home devices, including iPad Pro. Yes, you get a discount if you pay annually.
Isn’t that sweet of Adobe and Microsoft?
Unlike Adobe which seems to be tone deaf when it comes to the average Mac and PC user, Microsoft also has a version of Office you can buy and another one on the way. It will be released sometime in 2018 and Microsoft plans to name it Office 2019. What will you get with the over the counter version?*
Same old, same old.
Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, et al. What about a Mac version? Microsoft wouldn’t say, but Mac sales are at record levels and Office is the de facto, well, office suite standard– at least, after Pages, Numbers, and Keynote on Macs. But let’s assume Microsoft will have a new Mac version ready to go in the next year or two, the non-subscription version actually is a perpetual license, which has advantages.
While the Office subscription can be had for as low as $70 per year or $7 per month, that’s for the whole shebang. What if all you need is Word? Or, Excel? As with Adobe’s suite, Microsoft wants you to think of them as a utility or the cable TV company or Starbucks. You know, where you pay by the month forever and ever. You’ll be hard pressed to find a single user license for Word or Excel. The perpetual license price tag for Word 2016 for Mac alone is $110 ($80 for Home and Student), but you get to use it until macOS Bakersfield in 2022 won’t allow it to run on your Mac.
Our digital lives are changing before our very eyes. Software that we once paid for up front and came with a perpetual license is a model that doesn’t make app developers rich, so we’re seeing the trend move toward subscription pricing for many apps, not just those developed by the big dawgs.
Honestly, I don’t think I would mind having software become subscription only if Apple would provide a subscription plan for my Mac, too. I’m on the iPhone Upgrade Program and I like that because there is no interest tied into the payments and it comes with AppleCare. If everything is going subscription, why not the Mac?
*not really over the counter unless you think of it as a digital download counter; but you get the idea, right?