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Thread: Can someone please explain the advantage of re and re purchasing the same software?

  1. #1
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    Can someone please explain the advantage of re and re purchasing the same software?

    I just had to spend £60 to "renew my subscription" to Microsoft Office; a product which ten years ago I could have purchased once on disc and, well, owned. My new computer doesn't even have a disc drive- I'm just expected to enjoy my software as a service. I'm assuming this new model must be of some advantage to the consumer, rather than simply a monopoly systematically bleeding a captured market. I'm pretty sure that would be, if not criminal, than at least actionable. Am I wrong? Is there some hidden benefit I am actually paying for? If so, what is it? I really want to know.
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    Quote Originally Posted by parallaxicality View Post
    I just had to spend £60 to "renew my subscription" to Microsoft Office; a product which ten years ago I could have purchased once on disc and, well, owned. My new computer doesn't even have a disc drive- I'm just expected to enjoy my software as a service. I'm assuming this new model must be of some advantage to the consumer, rather than simply a monopoly systematically bleeding a captured market. I'm pretty sure that would be, if not criminal, than at least actionable. Am I wrong? Is there some hidden benefit I am actually paying for? If so, what is it? I really want to know.
    I don't think it's actionable, because it is simply a business model. Rental car companies cannot be sued because they refuse to sell you the car but force you to pay by the day. Whether it's a good model or not is a good question, though. The advantage is that you always have the latest version, and the downside is that it is more expensive. It's part of a larger movement toward Cloud based services. I kind of like it because it allows me to access things on a variety of devices, but yes, it comes at a price. I feel the same thing about mobile devices. It definitely costs a lot more than in the old days when each house had a single telephone line that everybody used, but it also means I can access things outside the house. So it's a mixed bag I guess.
    As above, so below

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    I'm still using Office 2007, which I purchased once on a disc and still own. Runs fine under Windows 10. does what I need, familiar interface. Why rent another version?

    Grant Hutchison

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    Rental car companies cannot be sued because they refuse to sell you the car but force you to pay by the day.
    I admit I am not speaking from experience, since I am disabled and cannot drive, but as far as I'm aware, most rental car companies don't charge you the equivalent cost of the car.
    "Occam" is the name of the alien race that will enslave us all eventually. And they've got razors for hands. I don't know if that's true but it seems like the simplest answer."

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    Quote Originally Posted by parallaxicality View Post
    I admit I am not speaking from experience, since I am disabled and cannot drive, but as far as I'm aware, most rental car companies don't charge you the equivalent cost of the car.
    No, they don't, and so I think you are complaining that the price is set too high. I completely agree; I wish it was cheaper to get the annual subscriptions. Hopefully prices for those things will come down.
    As above, so below

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    I think the only way it might be actionable is if you could make an antitrust argument about it. MS has a type of monopoly over office suite software (there are others, but MS Office is by far the leader). So one could definitely make the argument that the price should be regulated.
    As above, so below

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    This is part of the reason I use LibreOffice. The other is that I'm using Ubuntu.

    If you've read the fine print when you bought paid for any software, you did not buy it: you purchased a revocable license to use it. The new pricing model -- I believe that it's also being used by Adobe -- is that you have to pay periodically to renew the license giving you consent to keep using their software.
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    You can still buy a stand-alone copy of Office and install without needing to pay again.

    It costs about the same as three years of the subscription service.

    Depending on how often you upgrade, that may or may not be a good deal.

    Personally, I'm still running stand-alone Office 2010. (It has survived the transition from Windows 7, 8.0, 8.1, to 10 ; with only Outlook doing some odd stuff with window focus.)

    You need to know what you're buying, when you buy it.

    (Edit: Through my job I can get a discounted subscription to Office 365, which apparently lasts forever (even if I change job) so that's what I'll get if 2010 dies.)

    ((Edit 2: https://support.office.com/en-us/art...0-a239bd27eb96 text OK, video seems gone))
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    I use open office (aka libre) on windows 7/vista and windows 10.It's free

    Mark

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    A similar business is Cloud-Computing, computing-services supplied by the likes of Google, Microsoft and Amazon. The "rental" prices are orders of magnitude higher than car rentals. You can rent a $60k car with very high depreciation for less than $200/day. For the same price you probably can't do much better than a virtual computer equivalent to a computer well below $10k. My figures are from memory, so subject to correction. Normally this should be opportunity for competition to undersell the big players. But somehow free-market rules don't pan out in computing/software. There are free MS-Office alternatives offered by other big/small players, but they just don't get the wide-usage.

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    Erm, also. £60 is not even close to how much Office cost as a stand-alone product. From a quick hunt the basic versions cost (around release - and with the caveat that this is from a quick search):
    2007 - £350
    2010 - £250
    2016 - £200
    2019 - £150 (which is the stand alone you can buy for a one off price now)

    So over the 13 years since 2007 came out if you wanted to stay up to date you'd have spent about £900. Or about £70 a year. The prices haven't changed that much - what has changed is that this is a way to systematically ensure everyone is running the same, latest, version of the software (to force upgrades, if you like). This has a huge benefit for Microsoft in terms of customer support. It makes life so much easier because instead of four versions of Office there is one baseline.

    You are not repurchasing the same software, you are buying the upgraded versions on a hire purchase scheme! That said I'm not the biggest fan of being made to upgrade, but I see why it is a good idea from the point of enhanced customer support, better security and a common user experience. If you want to buy the package as a one-off instead then Office 2019 is out there. It is about £120 at the moment (direct from Microsoft).

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    Quote Originally Posted by parallaxicality View Post
    I admit I am not speaking from experience, since I am disabled and cannot drive, but as far as I'm aware, most rental car companies don't charge you the equivalent cost of the car.
    Try renting a car for a month and compare that to the typical monthly payment for a car that your purchased new. It's usually more to rent. Much more.
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    Quote Originally Posted by swampyankee View Post
    This is part of the reason I use LibreOffice. The other is that I'm using Ubuntu.

    If you've read the fine print when you bought paid for any software, you did not buy it: you purchased a revocable license to use it. The new pricing model -- I believe that it's also being used by Adobe -- is that you have to pay periodically to renew the license giving you consent to keep using their software.
    Good to hear. I'm a long time Red hat, fedora guy. The other good part [of "free" software] is that you are free to share and modify the software as long as you share your modification code too.

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    I'm still using the stand-alone CS5 version of Photoshop because I just can't buy into their subscription model.
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    Like others have commented, I much prefer to purchase software outright, and would much rather use a years-old version of software than have to pay a subscription fee. I think the claim is certainly that a subscription model is good for the customer because you always have the latest version, but I think it's pretty clear that the advantage is almost entirely on the side of the company, providing them with a steadier (and larger) revenue stream. In many cases, a much older copy of a piece of software will work perfectly fine (indeed, sometimes more recent versions have annoying upgrades that I'm not happy with), so many people woould just stick with what they had, so software companies weren't making as much money as they would like. But if it ever gets to the point that my old copy of Office can't do what I want, I'll definitely move to one of the open alternatives, rather than pay a subscription. I've got a version of Adobe Photoshop that dates to 2002, and if I ever decide to replace that, I'll pick either something open source, or something that I can purchase once and own.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PetersCreek View Post
    I'm still using the stand-alone CS5 version of Photoshop because I just can't buy into their subscription model.
    Same. Before that, I had CS2 for 7 years.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CJSF View Post
    Same. Before that, I had CS2 for 7 years.

    CJSF
    I made the CS2-CS5 jump as well. One of the touted benefits of the subscription model is that you've always got the most current version of the software. The thing is, with stand-alone software, I can decide when an upgrade is worth my time and money to implement. With a subscription, I'm effectively (and continuously) paying for each and every incremental upgrade whether I want them or not.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PetersCreek View Post
    I made the CS2-CS5 jump as well. One of the touted benefits of the subscription model is that you've always got the most current version of the software. The thing is, with stand-alone software, I can decide when an upgrade is worth my time and money to implement. With a subscription, I'm effectively (and continuously) paying for each and every incremental upgrade whether I want them or not.
    Do you consider the security of the software and monitor the advisories about it?

    This for me is one of the strongest counter arguments. Security patching is important and once software is EOL most manufacturers just stop doing it. Yes, you can hope your AV catches everything and should be practising good digital hygiene but outdated software is a risk and a risk people generally overlook. For example I believe about two years back Office 2007 became a concern because I don't think the newly found memory corruption bug was patched like it was in the 2010 suite.

    I'm not a big fan of the subscription model but unpatched, outdated software is not a good thing either.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shaula View Post
    Do you consider the security of the software and monitor the advisories about it?

    This for me is one of the strongest counter arguments. Security patching is important and once software is EOL most manufacturers just stop doing it. Yes, you can hope your AV catches everything and should be practising good digital hygiene but outdated software is a risk and a risk people generally overlook. For example I believe about two years back Office 2007 became a concern because I don't think the newly found memory corruption bug was patched like it was in the 2010 suite.

    I'm not a big fan of the subscription model but unpatched, outdated software is not a good thing either.
    This was years ago, but at work, we went from, IIRC, Office 2003 to 2010, skipping 2007, and that only because of security support. Similarly we hung onto windows XP, skipping Vista, until Windows 7. And from there, we kept 7 until 10 was out, skipping 8 and 8.1. Again, upgrades were almost completely forced due to security support since most software would work on older Windows.

    That is probably a good part of the reason they went to subscription - it isnít just home users, but institutions often avoid the upgrade expense until they were forced to (which includes labor costs and productivity losses as users get used to new software). Letís face it, new Office software or new Windows rarely have killer new features to create a lot of demand. Heck, with Office, I hated when they went to the unintuitive ribbon interface, and in more recent versions it has gotten visually uglier. Each time we upgraded it always caused support headaches.

    Iím not that concerned about security for home use. I have backup, and I keep financial software off my general purpose desktop. It depends on your circumstances, of course.

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    Computer-Security is an oxymoron. Think of all the financial-institutions, credit-bureaus, multinational-corporations and city/country-states that have been hacked in the recent years. Considering that only the least-brightest amongst the hackers will let it be known that they have hacked a system, what do you think that your up-to-date antivirus protected PC has not been breached in the age of sophisticated-AI which is smart enough to wipe out any records of its visit?
    Think of how easily remote IT-Support can access your PC or smart-phone.
    The only real security is safety-in-numbers. Excessive over-reach will at some point render internet unusable, so there is a balance-equilibrium that has to be maintained.

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    Quote Originally Posted by a1call View Post
    The only real security is safety-in-numbers. Excessive over-reach will at some point render internet unusable, so there is a balance-equilibrium that has to be maintained.
    Can you expand on these statements?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shaula View Post
    Do you consider the security of the software and monitor the advisories about it?
    Yes, I belive that was implicit in my post. However, I wasn't talking about security patches and other minor updates. Those get pushed out to most stand-alone software, too.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Can you expand on these statements?

    Safety in numbers is the hypothesis that, by being part of a large physical group or mass, an individual is less likely to be the victim of a mishap, accident, attack, or other bad event.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Safety_in_numbers

    Abusing the vulnerability of the online access to the point that it would be completely unsafe to go online for just about everyone is equivalent to biting the hand that feeds the hackers.
    It is really the only limiting factor at work, not updated software.

    Here is a relevant news item:

    Hackers breached iPhones for years, Google says


    There was no target discrimination; simply visiting the hacked site was enough for the exploit server to attack your device
    ...
    Using the implant, hackers could access Apple customers' data, including their passwords and personal contacts, as well as messages
    .....


    In this case, no user intervention, such as a prompt to click on a link, was required for an iPhone to get inflected.
    ....
    Similar and/or possibly worse bugs exist in Android and other operating systems as well.
    https://www.cbsnews.com/amp/news/goo...rs-2019-08-30/
    Last edited by a1call; 2020-Apr-16 at 04:52 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shaula View Post
    Do you consider the security of the software and monitor the advisories about it?

    This for me is one of the strongest counter arguments. Security patching is important and once software is EOL most manufacturers just stop doing it. Yes, you can hope your AV catches everything and should be practising good digital hygiene but outdated software is a risk and a risk people generally overlook. For example I believe about two years back Office 2007 became a concern because I don't think the newly found memory corruption bug was patched like it was in the 2010 suite.

    I'm not a big fan of the subscription model but unpatched, outdated software is not a good thing either.
    I think it depends a little on what products you're using and how you're using them. I wouldn't want to use an unsupported version of Outlook, but then again I wouldn't want to use Outlook at all, ever. But if you're in a situation where you use Word and Excel almost entirely for your own productivity, rarely open documents provided by other people, and never allow any such documents you do open to run code, then there seems to be little reason to get locked on to another Microsoft treadmill.
    I also keep a constant 3:2:1 backup cycle going (actually 4:2:2) and can rebuild my system at need, although it's a tedious task. I've had to do that twice, over the years. One was because of an SSD failure, and the other was because of ... a Microsoft update.
    So at present I feel I'm more in control of my own destiny the less control I hand over to Microsoft. But I accept that's not going to be everyone's experience.

    (I also run a fairly large suite of entirely unsupported legacy software under Windows XP, in a sandboxed virtual machine. Again, the stuff can't even see the internet, and any files produced move one way, from guest to host, so the risks are very low.)

    Grant Hutchison

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    Quote Originally Posted by holmes4 View Post
    I use open office (aka libre) on windows 7/vista and windows 10.It's free

    Mark
    OpenOffice and LibreOffice have a common ancestor, but they are not the same project.

    However, they are free, and a fairly good imitation of Office, at least for the component I use (the spreadsheet).

    I've noticed differences. If you do mostly basic stuff, there should be much difference, if you use more advanced features, it might be a less-than-ideal imitator of Office.

    But I second the suggestion of using LibreOffice if one doesn't want to pay for Microsoft Office.

    What I don't like about Microsoft Office is the way, in a collaborative environment, people more or less force you to upgrade by sending you documents which are incompatible with old versions. Personally, I find sending a Microsoft Word document to someone else for purposes other than allowing them to edit it, to be barbaric. Send a PDF instead.
    A: "Things that are equal to the same are equal to each other"
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    E: "If A and B and C and D are true, Z must be true"

    Therefore, Z: "The two sides of this triangle are equal to each other"

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    I think it's mainly a way for the company to make more money. They use continuous updates and support as the lure, but it's all about more profit for them. Plus they force you to pay to continue using the software, unlike buying and upgrading, where you can choose not to pay and continue to use the version you already bought.

    What really irks me is when a company doesn't offer a reasonable purchase option alongside the subscription option. Like Roland Cloud for example, which is subscription only. Or Adobe. Or Quicken. I used to upgrade Quicken every couple years, but I refuse to subscribe. I don't use Quicken anymore, it was never very good in the later iterations anyway.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shaula View Post
    £60 is not even close to how much Office cost as a stand-alone product. From a quick hunt the basic versions cost (around release - and with the caveat that this is from a quick search):
    2007 - £350
    2010 - £250
    2016 - £200
    2019 - £150 (which is the stand alone you can buy for a one off price now)
    Those look like prices for the entire Office "suite", which would be about 4-6 programs, unless either the prices have changed a lot in the several years since I looked or I misunderstand the value of a funky crossed-out L-thingy by a wide margin. The original post didn't specify environment, but I'm guessing home or small business because most large companies handle this stuff through an IT department and I'm sure an IT department didn't start this thread. And home or small business users are unlikely to need all that. A simplified "suite" of just Word and Excel, or Word or Excel alone, does everything most people would want to do. Are those reduced packages or single programs not available anymore? (Of course, for the same users, OpenOffice and LibreOffice would also do the trick for free, but lots of people seem unaware of those and unnecessarily think of themselves as "captive" customers for no other reason but lack of awareness.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Shaula View Post
    So over the 13 years since 2007 came out if you wanted to stay up to date you'd have spent about £900. Or about £70 a year.
    For an absurd definition of "up to date" which nobody anywhere ever fools with except in a MicroSoft salesperson's wildest dreams.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grey View Post
    I think the claim is certainly that a subscription model is good for the customer because you always have the latest version, but I think it's pretty clear that the advantage is almost entirely on the side of the company
    Changing versions is bad for the customer. Even if the versions were equally good, the relearning would still be an obstacle, and, while the newer version is never an improvement, it can sometimes be worse, like with MicroSoft's insane "ribbon" crap.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grey View Post
    if it ever gets to the point that my old copy of Office can't do what I want, I'll definitely move to one of the open alternatives, rather than pay a subscription.
    I sometimes worry about LibreOffice or OpenOffice shutting down, because it can't be easy to pay people to write and occasionally update those without profits from which to pay them. And even if they're not always trying to concoct new "features" like the MS ribbon, and we ignore "security" updates and help-desk support, we would still at least occasionally need them to add the ability to import files of the latest new MS format, or need to download from one of their sites because of switching to a new computer or such. These would be good places to donate if one were the donating type.

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    Watch out for this ...

    We still have installation discs for Office 2003, 2007, 2010 and 2013, all purchased legally (I did get most at a discount via their "Home Use" plan and my job), and my family and I have moved them around to several new computers (desktop and laptops). I really did take care to space them out so as not to be running the same purchase simultaneously on two or more computers.

    Still, one try with an older version a few years back failed to re-install, stating that I'd exhausted some limit. I was able, via an online chat, to explain to the Microsoft person that yes, this may have been the 4th or 5th installation for this version on maybe a 3rd or 4th CPU, but that I owned each one and was using each on one computer.

    They gave me a new installation key.

    If they hadn't, I'd have switched to a free alternative pretty quickly. For my purposes, Office 2013 isn't any better than Office 2000. It drove me crazy trying to figure out (for 2007) where things had gone on "The Ribbon." and I'd memorized many keyboard tricks that no longer worked, but after a few years, I was comfortable again. (Well, almost: I used to dump programming code into a Word document so that I could mark and move columns and rename variables efficiently prior to moving the code back. Easy with the old keyboards shortcuts, impossible with Mr. Ribbon.)

    If Microsoft gets any more intrusive, I'll look at another operating system. Keep your clouds and leave me alone!

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    Quote Originally Posted by a1call View Post
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Safety_in_numbers

    Abusing the vulnerability of the online access to the point that it would be completely unsafe to go online for just about everyone is equivalent to biting the hand that feeds the hackers.
    It is really the only limiting factor at work, not updated software.

    Here is a relevant news item:



    https://www.cbsnews.com/amp/news/goo...rs-2019-08-30/
    I was asking more about what you mean by "excessive over reach".
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    Have you folks noticed that some Windows 10 update went ahead and installed the "Edge" browser without asking? If you open any link that doesn't have a specific browser assignment, you get Edge. I found that it was difficult to disable and almost impossible to remove. I guess that all I can do about it is badmouth 'em, so I'll do that here.

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