Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Software by Subscription

You know that $800 software package you just bought? Yeah, they came out with a new version recently - and you only need $400 more this time to get it. The version you paid for and actually 'own?' Well, they went ahead and fixed all the flaws with that product, and now you can have the REAL product you paid for - only a %100 markup.

How about this?

I bought a car last year. New model. Lots of features. Some I don't use (self washing windows?). This year, the manufacturer came out with the new model, and much to my surprise, they've decided to include windshields on the new ones. Apparently, many of their earlier customers complained about the wind. Oh, and the engine actually starts in the newest line.

They're not upgrading the previous models, though, but customers can buy a new model for retail price. And they're discontinuing support on the old cars (as a cost savings to ME!).

It's time for software-as-subscription. I cannot justify the expense of buying Adobe's suite every year, seeing as how I use the products in about 5% of my projects. Dreamweaver is open for about 10 hours a month.

So I'm looking for a service that allows me to pay-as-I-go for software use. I want the latest, patched, software every time i open it. I do NOT ever again want to be confronted with a popup reminding me the version of software i BOUGHT is now obsolete. Software is a black-hole money sink for many businesses - if not in upgrade costs, then in support costs.

The technology is off-the-shelf to distribute this service (Drupal?), so it's really just a question of management inertia. I predict the first company in this space will win. (Google Docs?)