Remember back in the day when you just had to buy Microsoft Office, install it on your computer, and you were good to go. That’s how simple software licensing used to be. Sometimes, they even come for free when you buy a computer. A one-time purchase of a program can save you a lot.
This business model seemed to be working for consumers. But it looks like it wasn’t making enough profit for some software developers. This made them come up with adopting a subscription-based scheme. The subscription-based model has had a fair share of failures based on its history. Despite this, it actually prevailed. It’s contributing an abundant amount of income for software development companies.
But how is this negatively affecting the consumers and the software market? Here are some cons of subscription-based licensing for software.
It’s Expensive for Some
Buying a software license can cost a lot for some. Many people really save up just to buy software that they can use for their jobs. Some are students who need these programs for their studies. Most of them are not earning that high yet. For them, it means so much to buy software with their hard-earned money. However, the subscription-based model has drastically changed it. Instead of saving up for a one-time purchase, consumers are now forced to spare some of their monthly budgets to pay for the software license. That could be highly impractical for some creatives. Aside from this, buying software licenses subscription also impacted firms and companies. It costs them a lot more. And now, the monthly subscription is already included in their budgeting.
Causes More Software Piracy
A subscription-based model for software licensing helps software developers to earn continuously. Software and programs under this model can easily disable functions if you don’t pay a fee. It’s like enabling a GPS starter interrupt on a loaned car you forgot to make a payment for. The only difference is you don’t really owe these software developers cause they could just make the service more accessible to many. This gives a reason for most pirates to make illegal copies of the products. It enables people to bypass restrictions set by these software companies. Since the subscription-based model for software licensing is a continuous process, the same goes for its pirated counterpart. As long as they continue to make updates for the software, these pirates will only find ways to have access to these software updates for free.
Can Leave Users With No Choice
Software companies who make the best programs within the niche can easily establish loyal clients. Adobe has made plenty of creative industry followers because of its competitive software. People who became die-hard fans of their products couldn’t find better alternatives. This is the reason why Adobe received a ton of backlash after announcing its transition to a subscription-based model. Some complained that an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription would cost them significantly more. But despite all this mess, most consumers didn’t even bother looking for alternatives. They tried some but the people who found out that nothing works better for them just adapted to Adobe’s subscription model.
Allows Developers Most Control
A subscription-based model in software licensing can put creativity to a halt. Software developers would want you to continue your subscription with them to get the latest big updates. These updates showcase features that are important for creatives. However, it bars people from accessing them if they couldn’t afford the subscription cost. Putting most control on developers isn’t helping the creatives to work on their craft freely. This somehow defeats the purpose of a product’s usefulness. If you have to pay for features continuously, developers can just put on the software, which will affect you negatively.
Makes Independent Creators Suffer the Most
If there are people who are most affected by this, they’re the independent creators. These people are the ones who suffer the most with this subscription-based model for software licensing. Firms and companies can still shoulder the licensing fees somehow. But it’s going to be hard for independent creators who earn through commissions. This is true especially for those who are just starting their creative careers. Worse, it can discourage people who are just beginning their journeys in the creative industry. It’ll be harder for them to start since they would need to invest in the programs they will use. Then this will force them to work harder to save some to pay for the software’s subscription fee. This is how it negatively affects the consumers who are in the creative industry.
Despite these disadvantages, expect more software companies to adopt this business model. Just like how we all adapted to the transition of buying music to streaming them, we’ll get used to this, too. This is the direction digital products are taking.