Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Whatever Happened to Owning Software?

Recently, I've noticed that many developers are converting to the subscription model for app pricing. Instead of a "pay up front and own it for life," it's now "get a free, bricked app and pay monthly for access." While each example has its own variation, they're all roughly the same. Look, I get it. Making money from a one time purchase is not profitable. Not by any means. But I'm tired of Microsoft and Adobe making subscription-based apps an okay thing for any app. We even see Microsoft Office being phased out for Google Drive. Adobe thrives because they're the only choice for PC users. I gladly use Pixelmator for Mac over Photoshop because it's a one time purchase and doesn't have to validate my subscription on startup. But Day One and 1Password, two apps I used to admire, simply cannot sellout to this subscription model. I want to own software, not rent it. These apps don't fit with this model. They're not the type of apps that can push out regular updates that justify regular payment. So what's the solution? My suggestion is to use the model of paid upgrades. The user decides if the major update is worthy of payment. I want developers to show me what I'm paying for before I pay for it, and my payment should act as approval. While I don't know how these app developers' finances are currently, it's clear that many consumers are unhappy with this new model. As a developer, I understand that development and managing said development is difficult, especially as an independent or with a small team. I understand that consumers only look at the final product and never understand what hard work gets put into the smallest details, but that's the unfortunate way this industry works. The consumer in me loved these apps, but not to the point where I'm going to pay $50 a year to get my journals encrypted. Best of luck app developers. 

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