Yes Please, I’d Like To Pay A Lot More!

bye-bye Big Blue Box! I never feel important again! (c)2012 Adobe.
bye-bye Big Blue Box! I never feel important again! (c)2012 Adobe.

The title of this posting might sound sarcastic, but actually it is not. I’d rather pay more and know what I am getting, than paying less and just hopping along for the time being.

I am talking about software subscriptions here. And I’d never thought I would say it, but I love them! Not all, but some.

Let’s look back a few years. The concept of pay-as-you-use model was introduced in one version of using software, and this to go against piracy. Keep in mind, piracy, although a by the public hugely underestimated problem, has brought the world of IT into a whole new era. Believe it or not, but the promise of Napster and the free music and movies got a lot of people buying computers in the time.

I still remember I found the whole concept of MP3’s just weird. I always have been the conservative progressive in the IT world. I’d like to move on to new things, and then stick with them until they are dinosaurs. And then, I’ll admit, I wanted to be against any kind of newer things. Not because they were bad, but because they required change.

Now, I like change. Change makes things become better, evolve. The problem is, in IT so many new changes are introduced, and only a couple of them stick. This is not only in IT, I recognize that, but in IT it is relatively easy to adapt. It just takes a lot of time and effort, time and effort you also could put into being productive right now. And as a business owner, you have to be productive right now if you even want to think about the future. And that makes betting on a new technology, a risky thing. I will be very honest here, I still prefer working in ASP. ASP is ancient, but still, luckily, it forms the foundation of the current technologies of .Net websites. Also, ASP requires more work, but it still can do the same things if you put your mind to it, because it runs on the same current platforms. I still need to get my mind set to upgrade. Even if it is to save myself a lot of time and effort. And also, with the usage of Ajax and jQuery, and being pretty advanced in JavaScript, SQL and Windows Server, I manage very well. But this upgrade in thinking would make my life easier.

So, for example, moving up to APSX  would be a good move. For crying out loud, the technology has been here for a decade. It is about time.

But back to the original point I was making; I did not want to think about the pay-as-you-use model. Every time that you would use a program, you would chip in a little. I like having the box on my desk with the software in it. It makes you look important when you have the Adobe Creative Suite on your desk. Not only that you are ‘a professional’, but also that you were filthy stinking rich. Now, you know that people who want to appear rich, usually are not.

I always have pride myself with owning original versions of Windows. From Windows 95, to NT4, 2000, XP, Vista, 7 and now 8 – I have them all, boxed and nice. Not really to ‘own’ them, but I have learned a long time ago, that if you have to invest in any piece of software, make it the foundation. The OS. Why? If your OS cripples, and you hit all kinds of technological or security issues, all your other software and data is screwed. And who can you blame? Who is there to help you out? No one, you are on your own. And especially now, with all your data out and about, you need to have a solid foundation. And that comes with the promise of support. Which is why I always have my OS’ originally.

But also my Office tools. Now, and OS is not expensive. Usually you can get an OS upgrade around $100 throughout the years. Office, my second most important tools and the foundation of what I do, simply is more expensive. Way more expensive. Even though my work is usually web development and design, without communication tools, it is hopeless. So the OS and Office are my foundation. But Windows upgrades per version come free. So I am settled. And if the OS is upgraded to a new version, I pay a relatively small amount of money. Office, not so much, we are talking easily about $600-$700 in an upgrade here. So, that made me less happy.

And then the tools I really use a lot, the Adobe Creative Suite tools. The free Gimp application is good, but if this is the business that you do, there is no way of not using Photoshop. Photoshop is immense, and a lot of people picking up the pitchforks against Adobe, telling and yelling that other tools can do just as much… experience learns; it is not true. I would love to try something new, but there is not a single bitmap editing tool that is so versatile and effective as Adobe Photoshop is. Like or hate the company, this is just out of my experience. And even if it was not about that, the industry lives on the formats, so it is also an easy choice.

All the other tools, hmmm…. good, but easier to be replaced. But still, I like the connectivity. But the big problem, the price tag. If you are a small company, owning the Creative Suite is hefty chunk out of the budget, and one that I did not do often before. And I would easily skip over a version because the upgrade was never mandatory. And it was the old-fashioned way. I was absolutely happy with it.

Until I received an email from Adobe about a year ago, mentioning that they would be introducing their Creative Cloud service, where you would receive all the tools, with the most up to date versions at any time, with online storage, for a great introduction price. Heck, the calculation was easily done. With an $1,800 invoice every two years for the new Creative Suite versions, or paying (even without the introduction price) $600 per year, would save me $600 per 2 years.

This is of course a wrong way of looking at it. As I mentioned, I usually skipped one version. Which would leave me with actually paying $1,800 per 4 years, which would be $450 per year, 25% less than what I am paying right now.

And I was absolutely aware of that. But, there was a huge difference… I did not have to pay $1,800 at once anymore. With $50 a month, perfectly achievable, I got it all. And trying it out for less, I really was impressed with the extra updates, and just the stability of it all. Sure, there are some small changes I would like to see, but, I have been happy as a clam.

The same thing goes with Microsoft Office 365. Now, for Office as purely the desktop apps I pay way more with office365 than if I would buy the Office suite once it is released. But I like the usage of Exchange, and love the way SharePoint just makes things easier to manage. Those tools alone would cover the costs.

So I did the whole turn-around. I don’t have the software boxes anymore. Do I miss them? Sure, I am from the time that software packaging looked impressive. That games came in huge carboard boxes, and were nicely designed. That is all gone by now. And guess what, I actually adapted to the idea.

But it is nice knowing that with paying per month, I am okay. I don’t have to worry about incidental costs. And these companies usually do a good job at keeping everything up to date and running. So even when it costs a bit more, for me and my company, it is absolutely worth the money.

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