Annual Subscriptions: Why Adobe And Microsoft Want You To Pay Annually To Play Daily

Why have Adobe and Microsoft gone to an annual subscription model for Creative Suite and Office? Whenever something new and different shows up you can trace it all back to money. They want more money.

What’s the problem with an annual subscription?

Actually, it’s a good news and bad news option. The good news is that businesses know exactly what their Creative Suite or Microsoft Office expenses will be. Businesses like that kind of predictability. Also, Microsoft takes care of upgrading the apps so file version control is more easily managed. The same holds true for Adobe’s Creative Suite and the monthly payment plan.

The bad news is the math involved. Many businesses and most individuals, whether using Creative Suite or Office, don’t automatically upgrade to the latest versions, thereby robbing Adobe and Microsoft of upgrade revenue.

Ho hum. So sad, right?

Both companies go to considerable expense to get their customers to upgrade, often offering discounts in special promotions. But if you do the math, hold off for a year on upgrading to the latest versions actually saves money.

It also means less revenue and lower profits for Adobe and Microsoft.

What is it that is attractive about a subscription service? Many of Apple’s iTunes Store competitors have subscription models. All the music you want from 10 or 20-million song library is yours to download and use for one, low monthly price. What’s not to like?

Stop the subscription and you lose access to the money. Stop paying Adobe or Microsoft and you no longer have access to Creative Suite or Office. Compare that draconian response to what happens when you buy an app and then don’t upgrade to the latest and greatest version.


In the face of competition Apple may offer a subscription service of one kind or another in the iTunes Store, but Apple executives have always talked about how users like to own what they buy. A subscription to applications is more a rental agreement. Stop paying and you get kicked out of the residence.

The company where I work is flirting with annual subscriptions for both Creative Suite and Office. The company has annual maintenance agreements for hardware, and other software, so why not include the apps we use the most? That’s the reasoning.

What about you? Are you ready to go to annual or monthly app payments?


  1. John Dingler, artist says:

    This, “Stop paying Adobe or Microsoft and you no longer have access to Creative Suite or Office,” means that a corporation can go into your house and remove a product without court order and you have no “redress of grievances” such as in a court of law.

    There are two categories of so-called “big gub’mnt: 1. Various levels public gov. comprised by the gated community, city, county, state, and the Feds. 2. Corporate gov. and its vast internet spy network.

    People who hate big gov. in the public sphere should hate that MS and any other private gov. operating in the private/proprietary electronic domain is able to assert its absolutist policies on the victimized peon who is told, in essence, “if you don’t like it go somewhere else.” Where else can one go to get top products? Nowhere. This creates two classes, the have and the have way less. This class division is the basic property of class warfare unilaterally begun by the two forms of big gub’mnt.

    • Somebody is off their meds. Again. What does Adobe or Microsoft not allowing you to use what you’re not paying for have to do with big government?

      Get a life, dude. There’s a reason Faux News’ ratings are the lowest they’ve been in over a decade. People are wising up and figured out that all that trash talk about ‘big gub’mnt’ is talk and not related to facts.

  2. I’m pretty sure that the American Way is to be free enough to tell Adobe or Microsoft that I no longer want to pay them for their wares, and seek options elsewhere. That’s freedom of choice.

    As to renting software, it’s still a math proposition. If I can afford an annual fee, and the terms are acceptable, fine. If I can only afford to upgrade every few years, then that’s a different choice. Regardless, the choices are mine.

  3. I don’t see this as an intrusion. Adobe and Microsoft won’t go into your house and take back their apps if you don’t pay. Seriously. Get real.

    What will happen is simple. Each time you use the rented apps they’ll phone home for permission to launch. If you’ve paid, you can use it. If you haven’t paid, you’ll get a few warnings to pay up soon, otherwise, the app just won’t be usable.

    ‘Redress of grievances’ and ‘court of law’ is baloney. It has nothing to do with Big Brother, corporate or government.