The subscription era is here and after adding up some of the monthly fees, I’m not happy about it. Back in the day I could buy and use software for as long as it did the job; one year, five years. Subscription apps are here and added up they combine to devastate my budget.
Salt In Wounds
Salt is good for us. Too much salt is bad for us. Almost anything we eat these days has salt, but cumulatively, salt causes physical problems, but no one food is to blame. It’s the cumulative effect.
Likewise, where we once could buy the apps we wanted to use and use them for as long as they were useful, these days we see more subscriptions for Mac apps, but even more on iPhone and iPad. If you want additional online storage, Apple charges a monthly subscription fee to iCloud.
I’m not sure when the subscription craze started for Mac, iPhone, and iPad users, but it’s been around awhile in business; partly because businesses prefer to budget their expenses. I budget my technology expenses, too, but the increase in subscription apps has had a negative effect.
For example, I once owned Adobe’s Creative Suite of applications. One payment got me half a dozen or more applications which I could use until they wouldn’t run on my upgraded Macs or were not supported by Adobe on newer Macs. I didn’t have a need or a desire or the money to upgrade every year and it wasn’t a requirement. A few years ago Adobe went to Creative Cloud and the monthly and annual subscription plan. The whole shebang collection of Adobe apps was $50 a month. $600 a year. $1,800 over three years. That compares to an upgrade price of about $600 every three years before the subscription plan became in vogue.
Microsoft has a similar plan for Office. For now, Mac users can still buy a standalone Office, but it doesn’t come with all the same goodies that arrive with the monthly subscription of Office 365. Subscriptions are the new order at Microsoft.
As someone who spends a lot of time writing I’ve grown comfortable with the Ulysses app for Mac, iPad, and iPhone. It’s a great application for writers. It’s now a subscription service for about $5.00 per month or $40 per year. I’ve used Ulysses but the grand total to use the app for years wasn’t that much.
The subscription trend has reached the point where I cannot afford to use all the Mac, iPhone, and iPad applications I want, so I’m on the lookout for lesser expense. Here’s one I found. And it’s a subscription.
It’s called Setapp and it gives you a bunch of disparate but popular applications for a monthly fee. $10 per month gets you unlimited access to a wide variety of Mac apps. Some of these I’ve used for years, others are great but even the 10-percent discount at $9 per month billed annually starts to add up.
Subscription pricing is here and we need to get used to it. I want developers to make money for their wares, but subscription pricing seems to total more than purchase pricing and that means competition becomes more intense, and I’m not likely to try as many applications as I once did.