There’s a growing trend toward renting or subscribing to software by the month or year. Businesses have been doing just that for years with Microsoft Windows and Office, but the methodology seems to have legs. My most used applications– Adobe Creative Suite and Microsoft Office for Mac– are rental packages today; subscription software.
Another Way To Rent
Apple’s new Music service has a rental component, too. Pay a monthly fee and you can download and listen to any one of 30-million songs in the world’s largest music library. Stop paying, and you stop listening because the music is rented, not owned.
I see this trend slowly expanding elsewhere, and it’s not just Spotify, Pandora, Google’s Music, or even Amazon Prime. Pay money by the month or year, get something in return. That’s a rental or subscription plan.
The trend has legs, but with some mutations. For example, apps on the Mac App Store and iTunes App Store let you purchase an app with a one time fee, and while upgrades usually are free, upgrades to a more substantial version come with a price tag. The upgrade discount for current users doesn’t apply the way it once did.
Without actually thinking about it, smartphone users really have been renting their new phones from the cell phone carriers for years. Pay an upfront price, and you get a smartphone and a contract for cell phone and data service for a year or two. What about the no contract deals? Look at the fine print. Contracts are month-to-month for service, but jump ship and you’re still paying a price to the carrier for the phone you think you bought.
My experience with Adobe, Microsoft, cell phone contracts, and now Apple music tells me that people have a growing tolerance and acceptance of rental schemes and subscription plans and I expect to see more in the future. Apple’s upcoming streaming television service will be yet another example. Pay by the month for x-number of channels, watch what you want, stop watching when you stop paying.
How long before self-driving cars become more ubiquitous than personally owned, personally driven automobiles. Need to go somewhere? Open an app, make an appoint for a location and vehicle type, and it picks you up and takes you to your destination, somewhat like a taxicab or limo, but without a drive to tip, and perhaps based upon a monthly subscription fee which gives you access to the vehicle without all the headaches of ownership.
Does that sound like a good idea?