[sc:software-category ]Ok, so let’s have a quick chat about applications that you have to “subscribe” (aka rent)…
Recently Adobe moved their Creative Suite to a subscription only model, while I don’t use Adobe, it is a “tier 1” suite of applications. Certainly at the same kind of level as MS Office and others so for them to feel comfortable going to a subscription model is something to take note of.
Shortly after that news came out, The Register had an article talking about the possibility of MS Office going subscription only but rightly so Microsoft understands that many users still want packaged software.
Quite honestly, I’m not outright against subscription software, but it’s a hard sell as far as I’m concerned. Unless you have ongoing development costs associated with the product (like anti-virus) or are deeply discounting the product so that the cost is averaged over 3 years, I see no value in having a subscription. Most software works quite well without updates for years, why would I give ANY company a monthly fee for what amounts to security fixes.
But lets assume for a moment that all commercial software is moving to a subscription model, Windows, Office, and every other product I use. What would I do about it?
My first instinct is to say I’d find alternatives. Linux and Libre Office could handle the bulk of my daily activities, but I have to admit there are a few items I haven’t found a good replacement for. The most obvious one is Outlook. I know lots of people only use web-based mail these days, but I just can’t bring myself to use it as my primary interface to mail. Outlook.com is a big step forward (I really don’t like GMail all that much, it’s just different enough from what I expect mail to be to feel off to me) but it still doesn’t compete with Outlook on the desktop.
Thunderbird, now no longer being actively developed, just doesn’t cut it. It’s a fine mail program, but Outlook is so much more than just mail. I’ve thought for years that if anyone really wanted to break Microsoft’s hold on the corporate desktop, they would have to start with an Outlook replacement that did as much as Outlook does.
In the end, I think I would move away from any product that went subscription only. It might be painful in some cases, but I’d sacrifice some convince rather than support a business model I don’t agree with.