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Two Words Of The Week: Bloodsucking Leeches

Cisco Employee
Cisco Employee

Ok, pardon the rant, please. But I'm really getting sick of the subscription model for everything. Back in the day, when I walked two miles in the snow to and from school uphill both ways, you bought software. Bought it. And if a new version came out, you decided if it added enough value to upgrade to the new version. If you were still satisfied with what you had, you didn't upgrade.

These days there's almost no software left you can buy. You have to rent it. That is, you must subscribe to it. Which means it doesn't matter if it improves from one year to the next. And if it improves, it doesn't matter if you care about the improvements. You just have to pony up the payment for for the next month/year/whatever of the subscription. 

Before I tear some software companies a new one, let me qualify that there are certain subscription models that make perfect sense. Things like network security, network observability, network dashboards, anti-virus software, cloud storage, encrypted email services are appropriately subscription-based. Many of these are services, not stand-alone software. Protonmail, for example, provides encrypted IMAP mail services I can reach from anywhere with an Internet connection. And stand-alone products like anti-virus programs aren't useful unless they're constantly updated as new threats emerge. And some products REQUIRE incremental improvements to keep up to date. You get the idea, I hope.

And allow me to apologize in advance if you know of any way to buy these products mentioned below without renting them and I happened to overlook that option. If so, PLEASE tell me how. 

Take Adobe Photoshop. All I want to do is have a powerful graphical composing and editing program. Now, you go to the payment plan for Photoshop and it offers you three ways to pay; monthly, annual paid monthly, and annual. And then it has the freaking audacity to label the button "BUY NOW". No, you're not buying it, you're renting it. Adobe, change that button to read "RENT NOW". I'm sure Adobe would argue that the reason they charge a subscription is because they provide cloud storage. But what if I don't want or care about cloud storage?  All I want to do is edit graphics and save my work locally.

The same goes for products like Microsoft Office. Let me buy the latest Microsoft Word and not rent it just because Microsoft wants to store documents in the cloud. And Microsoft Outlook email client doesn't need a Microsoft Exchange back end. I can use it with whatever back end I want, including Protonmail. I shouldn't have to RENT Outlook to use it with Protonmail. 

Even some {censored} weather programs for Android make you pay a subscription to remove ads. Why? Let me buy it to remove ads, and if you make it 100% better, I'll gladly pay for the upgrade. And don't get me started on the "pay to win" games for Android and iPhone. 

There are still a few companies who do it right. I own, the operative word being OWN, Moho Pro 13.5 animation software. I don't rent it. I own it. If Moho comes out with a compelling new version, I can decide if I want to upgrade. If I don't want to upgrade, I can keep using version 13.5 without paying an additional dime. In fact, I've upgraded Moho at least 3 times (it used to be called Anime Studio). It was worth the upgrades. I suspect, however, if Moho Pro was as popular as Microsoft Office and Adobe software, they'd switch to a subscription plan. 

Yes, I'm aware of Gimp, Libre Office, and many other open source alternatives to the above products. You don't even have to buy them. They're free. But they're not the best. I'm willing to pay for the best, but I'm not willing to rent the best. 

The problem is that the real profits are in subscriptions, and I happen to think the companies who COULD provide standalone packages that don't need the cloud or constant incremental updates but simply depend upon subscriptions to bleed us every year are, in fact, bloodsucking leeches. 

Rant over. 

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