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Microsoft Testing "Pay-As-You-Go" Software

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the not-unless-i-can-hit-level-70-in-office-newb dept.

Microsoft 202

seriouslywtf writes "Microsoft has quietly rolled out a pay-as-you-go software system in a few countries (South Africa, Mexico, and Romania) to test out how the public reacts to software rentals. Part of the current service includes a ~$15 fee per month to use Office 2003. If the service goes over well, Microsoft is considering extending the program to include other software or other countries. From the article: 'Are we moving towards a rental model for software? Despite the success of programs like Software Assurance, and the FlexGo program, it doesn't seem as if the traditional model of software sales is ever going to go away. Consumers still like the option of buying complete software packages. However, for places where the price of software keeps obtaining legitimate versions out of most people's reach, a rental program may be a useful alternative.'"

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Microsoft vs. Google (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18126324)

And it begins...

Offtopic? WTF is wrong with moderators? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18126676)

This is clearly a pertinent comparison, given that both are current and obviously interrelated issues.

Re:Microsoft vs. Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18127228)

WTF do you think "Live" is for? Windows Live, its already begun with 1) activation / or deactivation and 2) Windows Fista with its add-on's and so on. Just look at the Billing options on their consumer IM clients.

Developing countries need to use Open Office not MS Office. Blowing money on MS OFfice was bad enough but now monthly rent? Its going to be MORE expensive and that most likely includes the lastest releases which also means having to upgrade HARDWARE which means more money being spend than they need.

Latin America has the right idea by using free software, the rest of the world needs to follow suit.

Anyway, while we are on the subject of "live" software, there is alot of software that doesnt need custom client window's they can quite easily use a web browser as a container with async javascript.

Re:Microsoft vs. Google: Cost (1)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | more than 7 years ago | (#18127682)

Google: $50.00/machine/year x 28 machines = $1400.00/year
Microsoft: $180.00/machine/year x 28 machines = $5400.00/year

At that cost from Microsoft, it takes 2.78 years to amortize the cost of a full version of Office 2007 Pro. We don't upgrade anywhere near that often. However, the cost from Google is a lot more reasonable. Add in that most of our people don't use anywhere near the full range of features in Office, the Google option makes sense.

what about my data? (5, Insightful)

yagu (721525) | more than 7 years ago | (#18126332)

What about my data? If I agree to a "pay as you go" software model, will you allow me to create documents, data, etc., in an open format guaranteeing me free access at anytime I decide not to continue the subscription?

Will you guarantee data and documents I create can be looked at and used in other applications? What if my friends aren't subscribers?

Will you offer different levels of subscription, e.g., allow me to opt in for subscription at a lower rate for reduced features?

From the article:

In the early days of personal computer software, the concept of renting software was met with public outrage, as users worried that they would no longer be able to own their software. However, in the age of the Internet, cellular phones, and multiplayer online games, the concept of paying monthly fees for software has become less abhorrent. Microsoft's Software Assurance program, where users pay a yearly fee in order to always get the most up-to-date version of Microsoft products, could be considered a software rental program.

I don't happen to agree with the articles inference that "paying monthly fees..., has become less abhorrent." I find it still mostly abhorrent, but rampant. The fact that it is everywhere indicates control of the market more than it indicates consumer-oriented services. When a population of users unshackled from monopoly-offered "pricing packages" and schemes freely endorse a paradigm, fine. Until then, I'm not convinced pay-as-you-go is desirable, or even makes sense.

I've not talked with many people who are happy with pay-as-you-go. This seems mostly because pay-as-you-go is usually more synonymous with "commit-to-a-locked-in-contract" for time frames longer than the current technology obsolesence cycles. That's not fair, and as the phone companies edge ever closer to becoming one company again (a la AT&T circa 1983), it's likely to not even be legal.

Microsoft stands to gain huge financials in the same way if they can pull it off, but better still for them they, much as the phone companies do, will have a better customer lock-in. Hopefully, the market will choose not to pay-as-they-go.

Re:what about my data? (4, Funny)

paeanblack (191171) | more than 7 years ago | (#18126704)

What about my data? If I agree to a "pay as you go" software model, will you allow me to create documents, data, etc., in an open format guaranteeing me free access at anytime I decide not to continue the subscription?

That's the idea behind pay-as-you-go.

As you go to another product, be prepared to pay.

Re:what about my data? (2, Interesting)

nmb3000 (741169) | more than 7 years ago | (#18126936)

guaranteeing me free access at anytime I decide not to continue the subscription?

As an aside, several Office products have free viewers available:

Word [microsoft.com]
Excel [microsoft.com]
PowerPoint [microsoft.com]
A Publisher option [microsoft.com]

If you use Outlook or Access, you should be prepared to pay the "price" associated with proprietary formats. It's one of those "no duh" given things that people usually accept. If you use Adobe's products, then you deal with their proprietary formats. Companies use these formats for a number of reasons, partially for efficiency and partially for extendability (and of course partially to lock you in to using their software).

Open formats are an interesting idea, but it's not worth griping about if you choose to use software that you know doesn't support them. It's stupid to assume that everyone will support everyone else's formats. If you are so worried about 100% coverage and support, stick to plain text files (and none of that fancy Unicode. I want to read it in Notepad!)

This has nothing to do with "renting" software. Your tirade is about open document standards, and that's off-topic and for another discussion.

Re:what about my data? (4, Insightful)

Jhon (241832) | more than 7 years ago | (#18126958)

What about my data? If I agree to a "pay as you go" software model, will you allow me to create documents, data, etc., in an open format guaranteeing me free access at anytime I decide not to continue the subscription?
You could always get MSs free word viewer... or their free PowerPoint viewer... or their free excel viewer.

Assuming it doesn't put some type of "rental flag" in the file which prevents it from working with the free viewers MS makes available.

Re:what about my data? (1)

644bd346996 (1012333) | more than 7 years ago | (#18127128)

What about my data? If I agree to a "pay as you go" software model, will you allow me to create documents, data, etc., in an open format guaranteeing me free access at anytime I decide not to continue the subscription?
You could always get MSs free word viewer... or their free PowerPoint viewer... or their free excel viewer.
And for those of us not running Windows? Being able to use a viewer doesn't remove the vendor lock-in anymore than running 'strings' on a .doc does. Free PDF viewers work because few users have any reason to edit the PDFs - thats why they are made into PDFs in the first place. You can never assume that a user will not want to change or update one of their own documents. Free access to your own files means being able to do things with them beyond just looking at them.

And the idea of a spreadsheet where you can't update the data and recalculate is absurd.

Re:what about my data? (2, Insightful)

Jhon (241832) | more than 7 years ago | (#18127396)

Uh... if you're not running windows, I doubt you'll have need of renting office 2003, m'kay?

If you're not running windows, maybe this article is of no interest to you, m'kay?

Re:what about my data? (1)

Zephyros (966835) | more than 7 years ago | (#18127134)

There's a difference between a viewer and an editor, and that's just what the parent's looking for as far as I can tell - data portability, not just readability.

Re:what about my data? (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 7 years ago | (#18127278)

I've not talked with many people who are happy with pay-as-you-go.

I know this isn't exactly what your talking about but with the FSU tie my employer has we get SPSS (normally a $900+ purchase) per computer for $25 a year. You simply can't beat that with a dirty stick. And each year we get the newest version if we want. Of course thats just what FSU gets because it buys in such bulk, most universities pay close to $100 a year.
Now MS.. thinking that near third world markets will pay $15 a month = $180 a year for office when its highly pirated in such places is laughable at best.

Re:what about my data? (1)

value_added (719364) | more than 7 years ago | (#18127434)

What about my data? ... Will you guarantee ... Will you offer ...

That would be set forth in the license, wouldn't it? And TFA doesn't provide any details as to what form it would take, not that many of us could stomach reading through more than a few lines of what comes out of Microsoft's legal department without our eyes glazing over and a nasty fluid filling the back of our throats.

Put another way, and at the risk of making it sound more palatable than it is, we're not talking a purchase v. rental model, but instead, we're talking about a new form of licensing.

The article submitter's suggestion that:

Consumers still like the option of buying complete software packages.

is misleading, perhaps to the same degree consumers are routinely misled. They're not really buying anything (except for a piece of circular piece of plastic), but licensing a product for their use.

Re:what about my data? (1)

hiroller (994761) | more than 7 years ago | (#18127566)

I've not talked with many people who are happy with pay-as-you-go. This seems mostly because pay-as-you-go is usually more synonymous with "commit-to-a-locked-in-contract" for time frames longer than the current technology obsolesence cycles.

The payment plan is primarily intended for large companies who are already locked into M$ products and I believe it is supposed to allow them to upgrade to the newest products w/o making another large purchase order. These are the companies that are less likely to change over to new products b/c they have established a comfort with using a product with the same general feel and operation (or lack thereof ;) In fact, I used to work for a department of the city I lived in who is actually excited about the idea

Also, and I didn't see it in the article, but from what I understand, the process does not lock you into a contract for that single version of the software but allows for upgrades. However, I don't recall them mentioning a charge for upgrading or an increase in "software rent" but I imagine something of the sort would definately ensue.

Pay as you go sucks. (1)

thedletterman (926787) | more than 7 years ago | (#18126342)

Didn't Microsoft fail miserably with their pay as you go computing model? What's their obsession with this? It's like we already have enough software that's pay as you go, just look at the limited term licenses out there, compatibility issues that require version upgrades, etc.

Re:Pay as you go sucks. (1)

archen (447353) | more than 7 years ago | (#18126454)

If they failed miserably with Open Licensing, then they're still failing - you can still get pretty much all corporate products under the Open Licensing Scheme (and about a billion others).

Obsession. (4, Insightful)

Nick Driver (238034) | more than 7 years ago | (#18126616)

What's their obsession with this?

Their fundamental obsession is with establishing continuous revenue streams.

Re:Obsession. (2, Insightful)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 7 years ago | (#18127498)

The problem is that consumers are smarter than this. If they want to get a continuous revenue stream, they would have to abolish the for-sale versions. Office 2003 for $15/month? That's a four-year-old version of Office, and renting it for 10 months would cost as much as it costs to buy that ancient version. Heck, even if they were renting the 2007 version, it's would still take under two years, so unless they come out with a new one at least every two years, it costs more to rent than to buy.

Who in their right minds would do that? Students? I don't think so. A school year lasts about 9 months. In one school year, a $15 rental fee would come out to as much as buying the full 2007 student version outright. You'd have to be a complete idiot to go for that. And businesses? Do you really think they'd be stupid enough to pay an ongoing subscription fee when they can just pay it up front and amortize it over the same time period? Uh... no.

There are two ways to maintain a revenue stream: 1. Expand your product into new market sectors. How? One possibility would be to upport Linux and sell your software at a much lower price so that you can penetrate markets that can't afford your product now. Another way is to simply lower the price so that all the people who currently pirate the software can easily afford it, then make up the difference by charging more for a commercial use license. 2. Add new features that are so compelling that people will buy it. Unfortunately, most of the Office suite is already so feature-bloated that it's a pain in the backside to use, so that's probably a bad idea unless the new feature involves adding another app to the suite.

The reality is that for low-tech software like word processors and spreadsheets, the market is saturated and has been for a while. No silly schemes like software rental are going to change that.

Re:Pay as you go sucks. (3, Insightful)

zCyl (14362) | more than 7 years ago | (#18126718)

What's their obsession with this?

Everyone keeps saying, "Why do I need to upgrade when what I have works?" And software companies keep trying to come up with extra little gimmicks to convince people to upgrade, like "Look, now it spell checks words even if you type them backwards." But as software matures, the value of these new features reduces, and thus the potential profit of software companies reduces. A subscription model frees them from this concern, because if they have a subscription model they don't have to worry about producing new stuff. They can just keep charging people for the same old crap.

But we got AWAY from this stuff with the PC... (1)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 7 years ago | (#18127390)

That's what IBM and the Seven Dwarfs were doing back in the day- and while it worked okay then, what we've got now works better and few will honestly want to go back to that stuff.

MS needs to come up with something that actually generates value to keep making money, to be honest. That X-Box thing not making them enough? Oh well... Shouldn't have strip-mined the market the way they've been doing for the last 10 or so years or more.

Renting for businesses (2, Insightful)

celardore (844933) | more than 7 years ago | (#18126360)

A rental model is good business for both customer and supplier, in some situations, while I personally see it as a bone of contention. In my case, I rent my flat because I cannot afford the capital to buy with UK property prices. If I could get together the money to put down a deposit, I could get a decent mortgage and cheaper monthly outgoings. Because I cannot afford the initial capital, I have to pay a higher price for where I live.

For some businesses, especially startups, it could be beneficial to rent rather than buy outright. Your cashflow would agree if your current turnover is small.

Re:Renting for businesses (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18126682)

Speaking of rent vs. buy, is it possible to get a mortgage from a UK bank for a home bought in the US? If so, what are your rates over there?

Re:Renting for businesses (1)

celardore (844933) | more than 7 years ago | (#18126786)

Speaking of rent vs. buy, is it possible to get a mortgage from a UK bank for a home bought in the US? If so, what are your rates over there?

Unless you're wealthy, I doubt it. The bank would find it very hard to justify the management of small overseas property. Remember that the bank effectively owns your house until you're all paid up. Then you've got the exchange rates to deal with, at the moment which being at around 1GBP to 1.95USD do not work in your favour. I have no idea how the banks would deal with over a long term period. To add to this, currently interest rates in the UK are going up and up which makes for more expensive borrowing.

I do work in accounting, but if you were serious about your question, I would ask a professional.

Re:Renting for businesses (1)

what about (730877) | more than 7 years ago | (#18126742)

Yes, renting is "useful" if the cost of the item is big, but this is NOT the case with Wordprocessors/Spreadsheet/Dbase.

Beside Google you could use OpenOffice to do you letter writing/spreadsheet etc.

Also, you are renting since the repayment time of a house in UK now is in the order of 30years, here we are talking of ONE year, so really, this scheme is only good for Microsoft

Re:Renting for businesses (1)

Fishead (658061) | more than 7 years ago | (#18127238)

As much as I hate the idea of renting software from Microsoft, is it any better then buying it? What if the yearly total of the rent was about 1/4 the purchase price? Wouldn't it make sense for a company to pay a small monthly fee for each software license then to outright buy it? I mean, it is a bit easier for me to get my tightwad accountant to agree to $15 a month, then to the up front $500 or whateve it is for MsOffice. What if I just don't have the capital to buy a license for every workstation, but the cashflow is there for the rent.

Besides, within a couple years there will be a new version of Office that all my clients are going to be using to send me incompatible files. If I rent, I would presume that I would stay up to date.

Don't get me wrong, I hate the idea of paying rent for a program almost as much as I hate the idea of paying huge dough on a program that I can pretty much get free with Open Office, I just think there is merit to the idea.

Re:Renting for businesses (1)

LoofWaffle (976969) | more than 7 years ago | (#18126788)

This analogy uses a flawed logic. When you rent your "flat", you are actually paying for something tangible. You never truly know what you are getting into with software because you can't inspect the bits and bytes to determine that the program provides what you specifically need(Sony's rootkit comes to mind here). Also when you buy property you are actually making a long term investment on something that is yours to keep (assuming eminent domain doesn't apply), but when you buy software you are only buying a license to operate, under very strict conditions, said software and you never truly own it. "Renting" office software for a monthly fee is a bit ridiculous IMO. I'm not sure about tax laws in other countries but in the US business owner's can always purchase what they need and write off the expense.

Re:Renting for businesses (1)

fuliginous (1059354) | more than 7 years ago | (#18127638)

The world of Microsoft software is almost if no actually pay as you go anyway. I don't see any other way of describing paying for something you don't actually own then paying again later to keep using it (upgrade) i some form?

1 Year=$180 (4, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#18126386)

So, we take $15*12=$180. Office 2003 Small Business can be had for as little as $145. If you use Office at least once a month, then 'pay as you go' is simply not cheaper. Yet another example of 'cheaper is not always cheaper.'

Re:1 Year=$180 (2, Interesting)

jandrese (485) | more than 7 years ago | (#18126510)

That was my thought too. $15/month is way too high for a single application, especially since a lot of people can get discounts (student, through work, etc...) on their copy of Office.

Re:1 Year=$180 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18127000)

On the other hand 2 cents/hour might be a good deal, if it was technically feasible to bill that way.

Re:1 Year=$180 (1)

L. VeGas (580015) | more than 7 years ago | (#18126514)

This was my first thought. I generally upgrade my main software tools every four years or so. I can't imagine paying $15 per month for this. Certain high price, specialized tools or enterprise software, maybe, but not for a basic office suite when there are so many alternatives.

On a semi-related note, about ten years ago I bought a cable-modem when they were first becoming commonly available for consumers. $200. Everybody else I knew leased theirs for $5 a month. I just replaced it last week. Savings: $400.

Re:1 Year=$180 (1)

canUbeleiveIT (787307) | more than 7 years ago | (#18126530)

Exactly. Even though the point is that you don't really pay for the software--you pay for the use of the software--the bottom line is still the bottom line. And most people simply *do not need* MS Office to peck out a letter to grandma or make a spreadsheet for their household budget when there are cheaper/free alternatives.

The only reason most people have MS Office on their box is because they have a pirated/corporate version. When individual users and small businesses have to actually pay for Office, OO will become the standard rather quickly.

Re:1 Year=$180 (2, Insightful)

hjf (703092) | more than 7 years ago | (#18126774)

Erm. People in those countries often make like $100 - $200 a month. You really expect them to pay they whole salary to buy something like Word? Besides, Office 2003 price at least in my country (Argentina) is well over $250, while the average salary is $300 a month.

Maybe you have that kind of money, but we don't, so we usually rely on extended payments to buy "expensive" things. So, if you rent office or if you pay it in 12 payments (the usual), it's going to cost you more than the product, of course (because of the interest rate, which in our economies can be as high as 50% a year).

Finally, it's not easy for people here to have access to a credit card. Most credit cards here give you a limit of about 1 to 1,5 salaries (or less). So you'll basically blowing your whole card to buy Microsoft office? I don't think so. Sure, Visa usually charges much lower interest rates, but you have to pay for it (it costs $50 to $80 a year, in 3 payments, and a $3 surcharge every month. Also you need to earn over $500 a month to qualify for one, which is too much for a LOT of people). So smaller "credit entities" with their own cards are growing at an impressive rate, even considering that they usually have rates of 50% for credit cards and money loans. A bank here offers a "Super-Loan 1000/30: for every 1000 we loan, you pay 30 a month, in 60 payments", which is tricky: at first you may think you end up paying 1800 in 5 years, but it's actually 80 a month what you pay (so you pay 4800 for every 1000 you loan).

I, for example, work on my own. I pay my taxes. I earn well over $2000 a month (that is a lot of money here. Enough to have a nice car and all). But I don't qualify for a credit card: HSBC or Citibank demand that I have at least 3 years on the same job, with that salary, as I am a "company". If I were an employee it would be easier, but as I'm not, I don't have another choice than using my Debit/ATM card (for which I have to pay $5 a month). Which is also blocked for "cardholder non-present" operations (that is, Internet shopping or Telephone). Being that I don't have enough years "in service", I can't either have a checking account, so I can write no checks (not that I need them, we use cash and cards only here, checks are for large operations, and as they are taxed, most large operations are done through electronic funds transfers). Also, to even think of opening a savings account, you need to be 21 years of age.

So, now you can get a picture of why someone would be better off renting office than using it.

Re:1 Year=$180 (1)

linxdev (1020223) | more than 7 years ago | (#18126846)

People in those countries that make $100 - $200 a month should use something free (OO) instead of paying.

Re:1 Year=$180 (1)

cnelzie (451984) | more than 7 years ago | (#18126998)

You would be better off downloading OpenOffice.org 2.1 for free and use that for free until the next version of it is released. Don't start up with the BS that it isn't capable, for the majority of Users OpenOffice.org 2.1 is well beyond what they would need, just like MS Office 200x is well beyond what the majority of users need.

Re:1 Year=$180 (2, Insightful)

amuro98 (461673) | more than 7 years ago | (#18126814)

I agree for often used applications, this model doesn't work out (for the consumer, that is.)

But what about other applications? I usually find I need to use Partition Magic about once a year. Some time ago, I bought a copy but now find it unable to handle today's larger HDDs, not to mention newer OS's. I paid $60 originally, and upgrading to the latest version would cost me another $50 or so even with the rebate.

I would have rather have the option to rent the program for maybe a day or a week. This way I'd get the latest version without having to pay $50 every few years for something I rarely use.

Re:1 Year=$180 (1)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 7 years ago | (#18126870)

Now that would be nice, there are a number of programs that I would only use every so often and paying say £10 for a month's use would be handy.

Re:1 Year=$180 (1)

hurfy (735314) | more than 7 years ago | (#18127090)

The one time where i would recommend a time-limited program or rental be available. And the last place it probably will be because it makes sense to take advantage of instead of getting taken advantage of.....

I hate the whole $50-60 to run Partition Magic or similiar usually one time :(

Re:1 Year=$180 (1)

antispam_ben (591349) | more than 7 years ago | (#18126954)

So, we take $15*12=$180. Office 2003 Small Business can be had for as little as $145. If you use Office at least once a month, then 'pay as you go' is simply not cheaper. Yet another example of 'cheaper is not always cheaper.'

Microsoft is glad to get $15 per month rather than $145 total from people who see $145 as "costing too much" or "I can't afford to pay all that money at once." This is the same very profitable business model as TV and appliance rental "services."

Re:1 Year=$180 (1)

apathy maybe (922212) | more than 7 years ago | (#18127184)

OpenOffice.org can be had for as little as $0. In fact Microsoft products can be too, especially in these sort of places.

Which is sort of the point. They will make it cheaper to "rent" for a time then to actually buy the product outright, in an attempt to stem piracy. It won't work for most, but it might work for some.

Re:1 Year=$180 (2, Insightful)

danpsmith (922127) | more than 7 years ago | (#18127338)

So, we take $15*12=$180. Office 2003 Small Business can be had for as little as $145. If you use Office at least once a month, then 'pay as you go' is simply not cheaper. Yet another example of 'cheaper is not always cheaper.'

Do you think that really matters tho? I mean, you are dealing with a country where Rent-A-Center is seen as a credit card company to some people (as if credit cards weren't draconian enough with interest rates). This is the "we want it now, and we'll pay for it later" nation, it runs from everything to consumer products to the presidential administration. Pay as you go software, if marketed correctly could be a boon for Microsoft. Just imagine, you have a box in walmart with "lease Office 2003 now for only $15!" and have the box itself only cost $15, with payments every month upon installation. The shortsightedness of the average American will see this as cheaper. Such as those who pay to lease a car, buy from the bigbox and then pay minimum payments and get crap from rent-a-center.

Companies have a general knowledge of something that average people seem to not really care about: compounding of interest and overall cost calculations. Most people don't look into the long term costs of things if they can get it on the cheap in the short term.

Back a few years ago, my brother wanted to buy a PS2 but didn't want to save up. He went to rent-a-center and got a contract to buy it eventually given weekly payments. I forget what it was per week, but the sales person quoted him a figure that didn't include interest I guess. He said it was going to cost him like 300-400 dollars, which my brother thought was reasonable given the fact he didn't have the money initially. Then I told him the guy was full of shit and worked it out. If I took the amount of the payment times the length (all you have to do to work something like this out, instead of believing the "4-easy payments of 24.99" salesman) it worked out to like $1,200 for a Playstation 2, just stretched out in small increments over a long period of time.

Big business will always play to the idiot consumer without the good sense to whip out a calculator and work the math out, and it's a good strategy from their angle because most consumers are shortsighted. Given proper marketing, it wouldn't matter how much more subscribing to software would cost consumers in the long run, they see it as a small fee in the short term.

It's the same effect that has people buying $150 dollars of cigarettes a month and wondering why they can't save: they buy them at $5 a pack a day and it seems like a small amount, until you add it up.

Re:1 Year=$180 (2, Insightful)

George Beech (870844) | more than 7 years ago | (#18127622)

But your are not factoring in you have to KEEP paying for it EVERY year.
So let's assume I go and buy office pro 2007 upgrade (who doesn't already have a verion of offce?) - $329
(http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/suites/FX1017 54511033.aspx) No more paying for it ... ever.

now in year one that looks like a great deal, but lets you a general life expectancy of 5-7 year (4 years for a replacement
2003-2007 then 1-3 years to actually upgrade).

In year 5 you would have spent $900 on the software.
In year 6 you would have spent $1080 on the software.
In year 7 you would have spent $1260 on the software.

Looks like a good plan for Microsoft, but does it still look that good to you? Don't be fooled by low monthly numbers.

Wrong business model (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18126400)

Part of the current service includes a ~$15 fee per month to use Office 2003.

Heck, I'd pay more than that just to not have to use Office at all!

Ok idea, wrong price (2, Insightful)

iamacat (583406) | more than 7 years ago | (#18126412)

A lot of decent software, such as Apple's iWork, can be bought to own for half a year of this "rental". And of course, most people can save $180 per year by going with OpenOffice or AbiWord. I can see paying $30 per month for a kind of "MSDN personal" subscription with on demand access to ALL Microsoft's up to date software, including OS.

the best part of all... (4, Funny)

User 956 (568564) | more than 7 years ago | (#18126414)

I saw a demo of this. It went something like: "I see you're trying to enter your credit card information so you can edit this word document. Would you like some help?"

Re:the best part of all... (1)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 7 years ago | (#18126770)

It's funny but I wouldn't be surprised if Microsoft tried it. After all, what happens when the rental period expires and you just want to quickly read one of your own documents?

Re:the best part of all... (2, Funny)

User 956 (568564) | more than 7 years ago | (#18126822)

After all, what happens when the rental period expires and you just want to quickly read one of your own documents?

That's what I call "Rent-to-0wned".

Pay as you go versus free? (1)

bgfay (5362) | more than 7 years ago | (#18126418)

There was an article earlier about Google Apps. Seems to me that eventually (and it may not take long) most users are going to be able to get by with Google's free apps. Why then pay as you go when you can have free?

One of the reasons I dropped WordPerfect and steered clear of Office was that it WAS pay as you go. Each time there was an upgrade I was a sucker and kept buying the new version. I switched to OpenOffice so that upgrades didn't cost money and now use Google Docs. I can't imagine needing to go back to proprietary software for my needs and it seems like the free services are becoming more powerful and covering a wider range of needs. So I doubt that I would ever pay as I go for software simply because I don't need to go farther than free.

Google's business model on apps. (5, Insightful)

Junta (36770) | more than 7 years ago | (#18126614)

Google makes a *lot* more sense for pay-as-you go with respect to productivity apps than MS' approach.

MS just wants a continual revenue stream for no additional effort. The problems they face as business is that their product very much fits with a purchase-once and use model. Once you have the software, i.e. when microsoft's development and delivery have succeded, MS is doing nothing by default. Sure, you get better support, but honestly how many times does the average person who *is* entitled ever bother to call for help? MS wants to have customers pay even if the customer is causing no work on MS's part, even if the upgrades they would provide mean nothing.

Google is very different. The most blatant thing is client independence, no need to maintain local software. But what really is interesting in terms of cost is you offload a lot of your data reliablity costs (backup) to the third party. By providing every remotely interesting thing from top to bottom, it's easy and an average person would never realize the implications of their data being backed up, how many disks a week are dying, etc etc. It's a logical extension of the server hosting model, and very much lends itself to a subscription model that all companies would like to follow in selling product.

Re:Google's business model on apps. (1)

CasperIV (1013029) | more than 7 years ago | (#18126692)

Don't forget, the Google system is also removing your need for email servers, spam filters, sharing plat forms, software updates, and 10GB of storage per user for $8 a month... when did MS offer storage, and I think I trust google with my files more then MS.

Rental model? (1)

El Lobo (994537) | more than 7 years ago | (#18126424)

A rental model you say? And what do you think you do now? Do you **own** the software? No and never did. You just license the software. Or in other words, you rent it. For life, but rent it anyway.

I know. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18126430)

Let's have a meeting to decide if this will work or not.

Re:I know. (1)

bgfay (5362) | more than 7 years ago | (#18126460)

You can bet there were many meetings scheduled and sat through before this idea was finalized. Yeesh.

MS New Business Logan Leaked (3, Insightful)

Slugster (635830) | more than 7 years ago | (#18126434)

"It's Our Computer, You're Only Using It">

Re:MS New Business Logan Leaked (1)

coren2000 (788204) | more than 7 years ago | (#18126752)

That is the revised version. The original was "All your base are belong to us!"

Great idea (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 7 years ago | (#18126456)

We're probably going to be moving to Microsoft Dynamics (mid size business financial software) partially because it IS pay as you go. The alternative is buying expensive new versions every year from the competition. Very often, bug fixes are simply not released for "old" versions, and the answer to fix something is to "buy the new version". MS's pricing on at least their "Dynamics" products is cheaper than the competition, which essentially forces you to re-purchase all of your software on an annual basis. Also, with pay-as-you-go, support is usually included.

Re:Great idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18126794)

MS's pricing on at least their "Dynamics" products is cheaper than the competition
How do they swing that when so much of the competition is free? [sourceforge.net] Are they going to pay you to use their stuff?

Pay and Go (3, Funny)

dalek_killer (661544) | more than 7 years ago | (#18126478)

So if I don't pay will it go away?

Re:Pay and Go (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18126842)

Nice try. You pay as YOU GO.

Re:Pay and Go (1)

apathy maybe (922212) | more than 7 years ago | (#18127224)

In this case, unless you pay it will hang around like a bad smell.

Not exactly a surprise (4, Informative)

Dr. Manhattan (29720) | more than 7 years ago | (#18126498)

"I remember saying [...] that people would spend more money on software than on hardware. We certainly haven't passed that milestone by quite a margin. But particularly as software as a service becomes a reality [that might change]." - Bill Gates, Newsweek, September 18th 2000

What consumers want and get are different.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18126502)

.. We all know that. MS are desperate to move to a subscription system. Why? Simple - there is only some many times they can "release" the same office/os software with a new coat of paint before consumers start to just say "I ain't buying it". MS needs a subscription model - that way consumers can't say "I ain't paying $15 per month" because if they did they would loose all their software (and for many consumers there is nothing known in the office suite world outwith MS Office).

The computer/software industry is changing - MS Office 200 onwards is virtually the same product with new coats of paint each time - they are running out of gas - at the moment it is being "trialled", it won't be long before it is mandatory if MS had their way. I am never really a fan of Google's online apps developments - but I will say one thing, thank goodness they are there forcing MS to make some hard choices - otherwise MS would have as all on subscription contracts asap.

Thank you M$ (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18126508)

I welcome this decision from M$ because this hope boot the adaption of Open Source based solution.

Re:Thank you M$ (1)

djchristensen (472087) | more than 7 years ago | (#18126748)

I was going to say the same thing. I suspect that once people have
to pay on a monthly basis, they'll take a harder look at what they
are paying for.

It's like paying for a gym membership. If you go once a month, you're
paying like $25 a visit, whereas if you go three times a week, you're
paying you're paying closer to $2 a visit. So if you write one word
doc a month, it would cost you $15. Is it really worth $15, or might
OpenOffice for $0 suffice?

The best thing MS could do for OpenOffice and other OSS apps is to
eliminate the free version of Word from new computers and replace it
with a subscription service. Make people think about where their
money is going and whether it's really worth it.

Why Google or Microsoft? (2, Interesting)

popo (107611) | more than 7 years ago | (#18126552)

As long as we're talking about an open standard there's no reason that
other (free) players like Ajax9 won't become the ultimate winners.

And neither Microsoft or Google has a webtop that's half as slick as
DesktopTwo (which uses a very slick browser-based Java version
of OpenOffice).

The pressure is now on MSFT to be compatible with other players. The
game is certainly on, but its not just between Google and MSFT.

Re:Why Google or Microsoft? (1)

popo (107611) | more than 7 years ago | (#18126630)

(I meant Ajax13, not Ajax9) - woop

Leveraging The Goog's 2/22 press release (2, Interesting)

heroine (1220) | more than 7 years ago | (#18126558)

So now that Goog got the rental web application seed in your head, it's time for MS to hit you with another rental PC application press release. MS's model is to locate the data on your computer. Goog's model is to locate the data on their server. As much as everyone loves the Goog, let's do a test:

Enter "I'm a terrorist" in Google Apps 5000 times.
Enter "I'm a terrorist" in MS Office 5000 times.
See what happens.

Re:Leveraging The Goog's 2/22 press release (3, Funny)

644bd346996 (1012333) | more than 7 years ago | (#18127290)

Enter "I'm a terrorist" in Google Apps 5000 times:
Advertisments for cheap explosives show up in the margin the next time you open the document. If you click on one of the links, Google gets paid a few cents.

Enter "I'm a terrorist" in MS Office 5000 times:
Clippy offers to show you how to look up synonyms for "terrorist". He then proceeds to reformat your list as he pleases.


Against the trend (1)

Dirk Becher (1061828) | more than 7 years ago | (#18126562)

Renting is only feasible in cases where the end of usage can effectively be determined. However, since companies and home userstend to extend the usage terms as long as possible for compatibility with present systems and the user base as well for realiability issues not many customers might accept this.

It might only work in areas where the software needs to permanently be updated like virus removal tools etc. but that would rather be a content renting modal than software.

Cost: (1)

mr-mafoo (891779) | more than 7 years ago | (#18126578)

A quick breakdown of the cost:

M$ Office 2003 US Retail price: $180-$250

$15 x 12 months = $180

Stall in local Street Market: less than $1 (less than authentic version)

likelyhood of this working:

It might also be work looking into how M$ would plan on manageing the activation of the software - the bulk of internet connected PCs in the developing world tend to be in internet cafés. And their rental package costs the same per year as an off the shelf boxed copy - except after 12 months it doesn't work. I dont think anyone is going to be fooled.


Paulrothrock (685079) | more than 7 years ago | (#18126600)

I avoid them whenever possible. I hear people talking up TiVo or NetFlix, but you've got to pay a stinking monthly fee. You can't pay as you go or pay for use. That's why I use the iTunes store as my TiVo. If I miss a show, I'll buy THAT EPISODE from iTunes. That way, if I don't use it for a month, it doesn't cost me the same as if I use it all the time.

If there is a service I'd like to use that forces me to pay a monthly fee, I'll spend a few hours trying to get the same functionality without the fee.

If you want this geek's business, either support it with advertising or let me pay based on my usage.

More Piracy (1)

SandwhichMaster (1044184) | more than 7 years ago | (#18127352)

I'm curious about the effect this will have on piracy. I would assume that people are MUCH more inclined to steal a permanent copy than pay a monthly fee forever. Perhaps it will also spur a growth in open source apps.

What I'm really worried about is reduced content. We're seeing things like PS3's new Gran Turismo where you're expected to pay additional fees for cars, tracks, and other content that should have been included in the first place. Verizon cripples the ass out of their phones to force you to buy things like a "Music Essentials Kit" for $29.99. Even EA's NHL07 expects money for stupid things like old Jerseys.

I miss the days when companies tried to impress you into purchasing a product, not screw you out of money.

O RLY? (1)

Fred Ferrigno (122319) | more than 7 years ago | (#18127496)

According to your blog [movetoiceland.com] , you recently switched to Vonage and gave it high marks. How is their pricing model any different than NetFlix? Don't you get a monthly bill from them even if you don't make any calls? Surely you can go to your local mini mart and pick up a prepaid calling card or even a pay-as-you-go cell phone.

Oh No Clippy! (5, Funny)

aquatone282 (905179) | more than 7 years ago | (#18126626)



look for this only where OpenOffice is gaining (1)

Locutus (9039) | more than 7 years ago | (#18126660)

Just a reaction to pressures OSS is putting on them and won't happen where MS Office is still a huge money maker and PHB's are suckered into upgrade after upgrade. You know, kinda like how MS Windows Express-edition showed up in Taiwan after HP and Dell couldn't keep up with demand for the cheap laptops running GNU/Linux.

It's only going to put a small ding into Microsofts profits and it'll help slow down the cascade to OSS.

Remember, 30% of Microsofts profits come from MS Office so they can not afford to cut pricing across the board on this productline. IMO.


I'm so proud of Microsoft! (1)

pizzach (1011925) | more than 7 years ago | (#18126662)

I can't believe they finally did it! I'm so happy for Microsoft. This has been the long time dream of little Billy and now it's finally happening...

Okay, Microsoft, can stop now. It was cute for a bit, but cut it out. Really. It's getting annoying.

Might be good for some people. (1)

alan_dershowitz (586542) | more than 7 years ago | (#18126664)

I can see advantages to this system: if you spread out the cost of software like Microsoft Office over it's lifetime, it may be better for a business or consumer to pay as they go and always get the latest version, when it's important to them. Software like antivirus which has a subscription service anyway could be enhanced by this. Maybe you only need a particular software for a month to accommodate a client's needs. Lots of good reasons.

I think the people with the biggest problem with this will be people that pirate stuff like Office, but they will not be the loudest voices for obvious reasons. The loudest voices will probably be people who want to own their software, not rent it, which is a perfectly valid position. Besides open source products that can never be taken away, I am certain that there will be a few proprietary pay-once products that will rise to prominence in response to service-software.

Citizenship involves Fairness and Kindness (2, Interesting)

jkloosterman (1017270) | more than 7 years ago | (#18126668)

Why must we force people of lower income to either pay what is beyond their reach for our tools or by forced to use inferior versions? In the financial situation of most of us, if we choose to pay Microsoft $400 for the usage of their software, we may complain, but it is really not that much relative to our other costs. For those that have lower income, because this is so much beyond what they could ever afford, M$ is rolling out programs like this. But is it being a "responsible global citizen"? http://www.microsoft.com/about/corporatecitizenshi p/citizenship/default.mspx [microsoft.com]

Why not adjust the prices according to the relative financial burden on the average person in an area? With Microsoft's activation system, they could prevent having their products imported to other countries.

It is unfair and unkind to either force the less blessed on the earth to use stripped-down versions of software, such as Windows XP Starter Edition, or to gouge out their money through plans like this.

(I'm not trying to be a Microsoft-bashing troll.)

Re:Citizenship involves Fairness and Kindness (1)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 7 years ago | (#18127100)

There's sound economic theory to this. The airlines do it. Two people can be sitting right next to each other, one might have paid over $600, the other less than $200. The difference is that the $600 person had a refundable ticket, while the other person was flying on standby. The $400 difference is the cost of convenience.

Non-airlines have had a devil of a time tranlating this to thier businesses. The airlines have absolutely no danger that the $200 person will try to sell his seat to someone else once the airplane is in the air, but companies that sell more permanent things like software do have to worry that the educational versions will wind up on the grey market competing with the full priced versions. Some try to differentiate with branding, where a high end Toyota might be the same car as a low end Lexus, but cost less.

In an ideal world, you'd sell a business service for a percentage of someone's income. A millionaire would pay you $100,000, a regular person would pay like $4,000 and a poor person would pay you $400. (That assumes that your costs to provide the service were negigible.) Jesus thought this was fair, and it's the way Government charges income taxes. Unless you can threaten people with enternal damnation or send in the goon squad it's really hard to implement a system like this, unless like the airlines, your product vanishes as the person uses it.

Re:Citizenship involves Fairness and Kindness (1)

zxnos (813588) | more than 7 years ago | (#18127692)

in an ideal world, you'd sell a business service for a percentage of someone's income.
eh? so if i earn nothing, or 1$, i can get free or essentially free services? this makes no sense at all. why should someone who earns more money have to pay more for the same service? i dont get it. it just adds another step to selling something. now i have to verify a buyer's income? i also dont think it is right that the u.s. of a has a graduated income tax system. if we have to have an income tax, everyone should pay the same percentage. if you want to pay more, there can be a line for that. that is fair.

if i were a millionaire, i would get my trophy wife to contract for the service.

Re:Citizenship involves Fairness and Kindness (1)

jbrandv (96371) | more than 7 years ago | (#18127132)

"With Microsoft's activation system, they could prevent having their products imported to other countries." Ha Ha Ha
They can't prevent anything with that turd!

Office 2003 student edition (1)

gelfling (6534) | more than 7 years ago | (#18126726)

Was $99 for installation on 3 machines. In the 4 years I've had it I've seen no need to replace it or upgrade it. So that's $33 per machine /48 months = 69 cents/month. If MS thinks I'm going to pay a 2180% premium they have been smoking too much crack. Well to me it's just another nudge off any and all Microsoft code forever.

Sayonara Redmond Dudes.

out of most people's reach (2, Insightful)

joetheguy (1048262) | more than 7 years ago | (#18126750)

Consumers still like the option of buying complete software packages. However, for places where the price of software keeps obtaining legitimate versions out of most people's reach, a rental program may be a useful alternative.'

Wouldn't the obvious solution be to lower prices? Its like MS is trying to work around a problem that is of their own doing. I really think what contributes most to piracy is when people feel the price of something is more than the value they get from it. But I think MS's big problem is they don't want to figure out how to do development in a more efficient productive way that would let them charge less. They are an icon of what I call american corporate socialism, inefficiency and unreasonableness for the sake of the economey. It always catches up with you though.

Why make a business pay some $400 for each copy of office when only a fraction of the total value of that product is used on each computer? This is a case where a legitimate lite version would be great. And by legitimate I mean don't reserve some feature everyone wants for the high end version. Adobe does this with Acrobat, making you buy the full version to make forms, when most people who want to make forms have no need for anything else in the full version.

I don't think software rental makes a whole lot of sense for most businesses, but hosted apps like Google Office do make some sense. There is always a balance between control, functionality, and support. With hosted software I give up some control, but I don't have to support it either. With rental software I give up some controll, but I still have to spend all that time supporting the software.

I think the only way a rental software system might work is if really acted ln a service based way. For a small loss leader investment, you get a MS app server to sit in your office. You then rent access to apps, MS put them on the server for you, and all your desktops can run those apps off the server. You don't have to manage the server at all except for setting up accounts and being sure your computers can connect to it. After that point MS takes care of the rest for you. You've basicly outsourced a big chunk of your IT responsibilities. With a fast internet connection, a local server might not be needed. Something like this might bring the value proposition back into balance.

Same Microsoft (1)

mpapet (761907) | more than 7 years ago | (#18126796)

The cost of $15/mo may not sound like much, but it's +/- 6% of the gross monthly wage of the average Romanian. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romania [wikipedia.org]

Let's say my gross average monthly wage in the U.S. is $4000. (not even a decent salary in urban America) 6% is a whopping $240.

I won't ever deny Microsoft the capacity to make products/generate revenue despite my unfavorable attitude towards the company as a whole. But I don't see how they can make pay-as-you-go work at the prices they demand for their products. Much less the prices they are demanding for pay-as-you-go Office.

Maybe the summary has the pricing wrong?

Will it work? (2, Insightful)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 7 years ago | (#18126800)

Why not? It works for video games.

Re:Will it work? (1)

Ahayuta (1042470) | more than 7 years ago | (#18127728)

Why not? It works for video games.

When was the last time you thought, "YES!!, I get to type a word document!!!"

$15 a month they must be kidding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18126848)

The problem is not the monthly rental, but what they want for the monthly fee. A dollar or two a month is reasonable, $15 a month is not. Especially considering the latest "improvements" in most office products seem to be copyright and security protections. How much has any of it really changed in the last 10 years?!

$15 a month for access to just about every single Microsoft Product including OS and Office and throw in a few games every year, sure you might sell me there, but for just office, nope not going to happen. They obviously are buying some good drugs with those rental fees if they think it is reasonable.

The failure of this will be of epic proportions... (1)

Mix+Master+Nixon (1018716) | more than 7 years ago | (#18126882)

If I was using Microsoft products in the third world I'd have a healthy chuckle at MS's expense as I dropped chump change on a never-gonna-expire copy of the same program they're trying to rent to me temporarily at a greater expense. It's like renting a car for a week - that you could buy for far less than the cost of a week's rental, probably with options thrown in that aren't available on the rental model. This idea is so doomed to failure that most of the people it's aimed at will never even know it exists. It is as if it was concieved exclusively to be mocked relentlessly on Slashdot.

Throwing caution and karma to the wind... (1)

le0p (932717) | more than 7 years ago | (#18126910)

I'm going to say that this is possibly useful to some people. Personally, I have a use for Photoshop (I know, not MS but bear with me) maybe twice a year. Does that warrant paying for it? In my mind, not even close. So what are my options? I use a lower cost and maybe lower functionality app that I'm not familiar with or I steal it. Not really great options in my opinion. I would not at all mind paying 15$ to use it for a month when I need it. It could be useful if there are few if any restrictions on starting/stopping the service. If there's a startup fee (like an MMO's original purchase price) than it's not that great but even that could be OK if it were low enough (read 30-50$). There weren't alot of details here, but I could see this having a market.

Re:Throwing caution and karma to the wind... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18127180)

So what are my options? I use a lower cost and maybe lower functionality app that I'm not familiar with or I steal it.

Dude, that's kay-razee. Steal it? Gees, they have cameras all over the store, you're going to get caught. Just infringe the copyright and download it!

Or do what I do and use the "lower functionality app" that I got with my video card in 1992. No way I'd buy photoshop. Hell, I wouldn't even download it off of bittorrent!

Isn't that just racketeering? (1)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 7 years ago | (#18126942)

What's the difference between "pay as you go" and "if you don't pay, something bad may happen"? It sounds a lot like a protection racket to me, with software shutoffs and license revokations instead of firebombs and baseball bats.

It's been "pay as you go" rentals for years! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18126948)

So, you're using Microsoft Word, and someone sends you a Word document - a Word document you can't open, because Microsoft has changed the file format yet again with this new release. You might as well be using Word Perfect or Star Office; actually, you would be better off as Star Office at least has a pretty good chance of opening that newer document.

I had to pay the rental fee in 1996 when Road Rash came out for the PC; specifically, I had to pay for Windows 95. Again, I had to pay the rental fee again a few years later when there was some other game that required win98. Then I got hit with the damned Sony rootkit, and as I'd lost my sound and video drivers and they were no longer available for win98 I had to pay the rental fee again to "upgrade" to the less functional (several pieces of software didn't work at all, and some hardware functionality was degraded, specifically my CD burner) and more annoying ("You have unused icons on your desktop" popping up at least twice per session, WTF moron put that shit in there?) XP.

I've been renting from Microsoft for years. When they stop patching the holes that their patches keep opening, you have to pay the rent again.

So, what's new about this, anyway? I've gotten pretty sick and damned tired of paying for software I should already own. I've been weaning myself away from Microsoft as much as I can; were it not for EAC and the drive that Microsoft monkeyed up so Linux couldn't read it I'd be completely Microsoft-free now.

It's news to me.. (1)

mariushm (1022195) | more than 7 years ago | (#18126966)

I'm from Romania and this is the first time I hear about this option, to rent software.. and with modesty I'm pretty much informed about IT ...

Price is too high anyway and probably companies would rather buy licenses because bureacracy (it probably spelled wrong) and legal complications are too high.

The company that I work for is planning to organize a programming contest (the ideea is to find future programmers in highschools, recruitment and so on) and contacted the Microsoft office here in Romania and asked if they would be willing to send us some promotional content (flyers, demo cds and stuff like that) .. A week later a package comes straight from Microsoft Ireland with lots of coupons for Microsoft exams and about 5 dvds with the full, unrestricted version of Windows Vista Bussines edition and a 60 day limited version of Office 2007. Legally, our company probably can't use those because the company has no receipt for the dvds and no papers and stickers but what would stop the company give a full Windows Vista and a 60 day trial of Office to programmers as prizes?

Users aren't really excited about renting software, they'll either pirate the software or use freeware/open source products. You can actually live one week here with 15 dollars (excluding rent).

Misleading name (1)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 7 years ago | (#18126988)

When it involves Microsoft it should be called "pay and pay and pay as you go."

Please make a note.

What a joke... (1)

Raistlin77 (754120) | more than 7 years ago | (#18127072)

From the summary...

"However, for places where the price of software keeps obtaining legitimate versions out of most people's reach, a rental program may be a useful alternative."

Oh right, because paying $150 per month for 10 programs makes them so much more obtainable...

Re:What a joke... (1)

rhizome (115711) | more than 7 years ago | (#18127462)

Oh right, because paying $150 per month for 10 programs makes them so much more obtainable...

They have to react to Google's announcement yesterday with an unworkable plan. This is how they always react to the innovations of others.

They already did this (1)

Joe5678 (135227) | more than 7 years ago | (#18127158)

They already did this. Remember when they eliminated product upgrades (with a few exceptions for home users) and implemented Software Assurance. You pay ~50% of the purchase price and get two years of Software Assurance. A new version comes and you get it for "free". If you don't buy Software Assurance and a new version comes out, there is no upgrade to purchase, so if you want it you have to pay the full price.

Seems like "Pay-As-You-Go" to me anyway. At least that's what we're forced to do unless we want to pay out the nose every 2-3 years for Microsoft Office.

Software Assurance successful? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18127258)

Despite the success of programs like Software Assurance

Software Assurance was only successful in that Microsoft got money for nothing from the suckers who signed up for it when it first was unveiled and had their term expire without Vista appearing.

It's all about the upgrades (2, Interesting)

Mr.Scamp (974300) | more than 7 years ago | (#18127300)

It's all about the upgrades or lack thereof. We are happy on Office XP and Windows XP. We will certainly skip at least one or two version upgrades on both products. Microsoft must hate that. So the are looking for ways to make sure we pay even if we don't upgrade and/or for a way to force upgrades when they want. Subscription software works for both goals.

Wait 'til the RIAA gets hold of this.... (1)

Ollabelle (980205) | more than 7 years ago | (#18127388)

We'll let you listen to that song once for, say, $0.25?
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