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Buying vs. renting software? What's your opinion?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / May 20, 2016 4:45 PM PDT

I haven't bought any big titled software packages for quite a few years and now I'm ready to move on to a newer computer and operating system and I'm at that crossroad of buying software again. Now that more and more software companies are offering the option of either buying the software package outright for a one-time fee or renting software on monthly or yearly basis, example Microsoft Office or Adobe Photoshop I'd like to know your opinions of on the pros and cons of buying vs. renting software. Your opinions are appreciated.

--Submitted by Manny G.

Post was last edited on June 22, 2016 1:53 PM PDT

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depends on your usage
by renegade600 / May 20, 2016 4:54 PM PDT

the free software packages are for me. Instead of microsoft office, I use libreoffice, instead of photoshop, I use gimp. I really do not need any of the fancy features that comes with photoshop or microsoft office.

You must really have a need for the software if you buy or rent. For normal home usage, all you need is the free stuff. If for a business then buy or rent. It makes no difference, especially since in some cases you have no choice.

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Don't rent unless you absolutely HAVE TO!
by tnetcenter / May 27, 2016 4:47 PM PDT
In reply to: depends on your usage

There is only one legitimate reason to RENT software - it's so expensive to buy that you can't afford to do so!!

The rest of the time buy it or use Open Source software!

The software developers are trying to soak you for all of the money that THEY can get out of you!! The ONLY software that is worth the money to buy it is the FREE OPEN SOURCE stuff! Everything else is bloated, crammed with cute but generally USELESS features, requires WAY MORE hardware than most people will want to devote to it, and is generally about as efficient as a Lionel toy train locomotive trying to pull a full size 11,000 ton train

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Free yes and if you like it then donate!
by juditte / May 28, 2016 12:03 PM PDT
In reply to: depends on your usage

I have mostly given up on the paid/rented big stuff. Some people will probably need to use
Adobe products and then the rental may suffice. Certain businesses may need other specific programs and can do the rent/buy cost analysis for their situations. Those of us who are now
primarily home users can do magnificently on the open source and other free/share products available. Try them, use them and then if they work well for you please donate to them to allow them to continue to develop as well as support the wide world of users who may not be able to afford renting or buying anything much.

This has been working very well for me for over 10 years. I write, do spreadsheets, do simple data bases, edit sound and video and process photos and drawings all with readily available
free/shareware open source products. When you hit a bump in a learning curve for a product head to the web and you-tube. Someone out there has solved and posted your problem. This is the incredible power of our connected computer world.

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What Is Your Need?
by franciemr / May 20, 2016 6:47 PM PDT

I think the first questions is what is your need. Do you have to have the newest, latest version running? Then ask which programs do you really use. I was in your same situation. My old Dell finally died and the cost of repairs was more than a new laptop. So, when I went to buy a new laptop today and this issue came up. Fortunately, my older Office Suite 2007 is compatible with Windows 10. I only need Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for personal use. Office 2007 works for my needs and I don't use most of what it offers. When I price compared at the store just to see what pricing was, I noted that renting 365 for 2 years was the same as buying. If my current office suite had not been compatible, I would have bought since I am able to use the same product for many years and it fits my needs.

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by joeinhb / May 29, 2016 7:12 PM PDT
In reply to: What Is Your Need?

HA HA HA... I am still using 2003!!! And really, it does the job just fine...

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I go further back
by The ancient one / May 30, 2016 4:13 PM PDT
In reply to: 2007.....

I am still using office business 2000 which came with a computer I bought way back then. It works fine on Win7, I don't know about Win 10. I have it on 4 computers and a real plus is that it doesn't have to be activated or registered. As far as renting an app, I cannot see any reason for doing that unless the app to be purchased is only going to be good for a year like most of the paid for anti-virus programs.

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"Renting" is actually cheaper
by jadtubaman / May 20, 2016 7:12 PM PDT

I always love to look at cost, and see how much I am paying over time. With Microsoft Office, I found it was actually cheaper over two years to 'rent' the software by paying the Office 365 subscription then paying outright for the software(assuming you want Outlook as well - which if you are using it for professional level work, it is needed.) For Office 365 personal You either buy a year for $69, or pay $6.99 monthly, which equals $83.88 for a year. for two years that is $138 to $167.76. Compare for Home and Student 2016, at $149, but does not include Outlook for email. There is also an added benefit to having the subscription, in that once a new version comes out, you get upgraded for free, as apposed to having to purchase the new version if you want the upgraded features. Last (and definitely not least, which as a technician who has had to deal with installation on replacement computers due to failure, this is big.) is that Office 365 is WAY easier to re-install. With the purchased version, if you forget the email address and password you used to activate the license, you're money is literally wasted and Microsoft is not going to help you recover the lost account (it doesn't even matter if you have the key, you need the account.) With Office 365, which has happened, I just had the end user cancel the old sub and create the new one, and then make sure they keep the login information in a safe place so we do not have to go through that again.

Now, as discussed by others, it all depends on what you need Office or any other software of this sort. If you are using it for business reasons, go for it. If it's so you can type the occasional letter, flyer, or just keeping up with casual email, there are definitely better options that are free, and better suited for your needs. This is just so you understand that the subscription really is a good deal, and not out to get you if you are wanting it for your business/professional needs.

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completely disagree
by mgv11 / May 27, 2016 5:39 PM PDT

I want to point out the new upgrade is not free, you keep paying rent. I'm running excel 2007 right now at home does what i need and its been paid for now hmmmm, what is that like 8 years. Any software you HAVE to HAVE the latest features is probably a personal need, of which in my personnel opinion beyond new product software, its been a long time since software had improvements to that level. As for losing an e mail address, i have the registration keys its moved from one laptop to the next... currently this pc is 2 months old, it loaded excel just fine. Leasing is historically 20 to 25 % more expensive I suspect as people make more and more statements like the above they'll quit doing the math and lease and the margins will get bigger for the software companies.... they're watching, most people aren't

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Only If You Upgrade According to Their Schedule
by bobkrause / May 27, 2016 5:48 PM PDT

Renting might be cheaper if you upgrade every two years, but who does that? I'm still quite happily using Office 2010 in 2016, and I feel no need to upgrade at this time. So, if I'd been renting at $6.99/month for the last 5 years, that would be $420 for software that cost me about $100 to buy.

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What the?
by koufax1 / May 28, 2016 12:06 PM PDT

I am running word 2007 and it works just as well now as it did 9 years ago. Microsoft is like all big conglomerates a huge rip off and will do anything to make as much money as they can this 99 dollar a year is for idiots. Pure and simple.

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Wow... $100!
by RichG NY / May 28, 2016 1:47 PM PDT

You bought Office 2010 for $100???? Wow, I paid over $500 for Pro! Sad I'd NEVER rent if I could buy it for $100! Where did you get it?

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Office 365
by Skeff / May 28, 2016 2:46 PM PDT
In reply to: Wow... $100!

Annual rental for Office 365...

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MS Office - I like renting
by atom1285 / May 28, 2016 4:26 AM PDT

Just upgraded to Office 365 and love it. I got the 5 user version for $99 and now all family has the latest version (and same) and we also get 1 TB or storage (getting ready to set up for complete back-up for my computer). I recognize there are a bunch of free options out there, but the ease of sharing Office files when you are working on group projects as well as myself working at home on files without having to set up my laptop makes Office the way to go for us. Plus on occasions we also use Access and Publisher. For now, $100/year for 5 users is pretty darn reasonable. I am not a huge supporter of Microsoft, but for the money for me this one was a no brainer.

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by koufax1 / May 28, 2016 12:07 PM PDT

Yes dude, you are a huge supporter of Microsoft.

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Great deal
by RichG NY / May 28, 2016 1:50 PM PDT

I agree, Microsoft throwing in the OneDrive storage & offering 5 PCs for home users makes that a VERY compelling deal. I work in Outlook all day or I woul!d've snapped that up for myself

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A lot of astroturfers commenting here. (I'm not surprised.)
by haydesigner / May 28, 2016 2:33 PM PDT

"I am not a huge supporter of Microsoft, but for the money for me this one was a no brainer."

You astroturfers need to work harder at hiding your paid-for posts. Silly

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by RichG NY / May 30, 2016 8:12 AM PDT

I may be way out of touch (even admitting this) but what on earth is an astroturfer?

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Astroturfer defined
by constantuser / May 30, 2016 10:55 AM PDT
In reply to: Astroturfers?

Someone paid, either directly or by being a company employee, to make a comment that appears to be grassroots. It's a pun on the word "grassroots".....astroturf rather than grass.

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by koufax1 / May 28, 2016 12:03 PM PDT

Cheaper? 99 dollars a year for a product that you can buy for 149 and have it for as long as you want it. Cheaper? Please. Do you work for Microsoft?

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From Where?
by porsche10x / May 30, 2016 9:25 AM PDT
In reply to: Cheaper?

Wow, you can outright buy FIVE copies for $149? Please tell me where. Does it include 1TB of cloud storage for free in perpetuity? You didn't mention which product, but I assume you're talking about full office, with Outlook and Access, right? Personally, I'd usually rather buy my software, but if you're going to compare, please compare apples to apples:)

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Multiples licenses is the factor
by ackmondual / November 22, 2016 6:23 PM PST
In reply to: Cheaper?

You do get 5 licenses for the subscription.
There is a 1 license deal for $70 per year, so if you use the same version for no more than 2 years, it'll be worth it. If you've got no plans to upgrade, then a 1-time fee is better, but you do need to factor in multiple computers.

However, not sure if $149 is available for non-students and teachers.

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No real benefit to the upgrades
by Scott098 / May 20, 2016 8:53 PM PDT

Microsoft and Adobe came to the real conclusion that their flagship programs had developed about as far as possible. Feature upgrades were becoming harder to justify for the cost. Seriously... how many of the new features from Word, Outlook, or Excel in the past 5 years have been a real improvement?

The same is true with Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom. The only way for companies to maintain a future income stream for a completely mature product, in the future, is to get people to pay a continual fee over time. Maybe they freshen it up with new icons, or change the background color, but it is still the same program. Adobe also likes to strip features out of programs like Photoshop Elements, and then add them back in future editions. They also purposely cripple that program to 'encourage' people to pay more for Photoshop. An example is the 8 bit vs. 16 bit issue. Instead of innovating, they are finding a way to make people continually pay for a product that is developed as far as it practically needs to go.

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think you just answered your own question...
by Zouch / May 21, 2016 2:51 AM PDT

Hi Manny,
your opening sentence starts "I haven't bought any big titled software packages for quite a few years..." So I think you just answered your own question. You have been happy with the software you bought "quite a few years" ago, with any updates and patches from the suppliers along the way.

You will see from some of the earlier posts that over two years, rented software is cheaper and I won't argue with that but over more years, the equation is reversed and the purchased software works out cheaper because you only pay for it once.

So from your opening sentence, I would guess that you will be better off with purchased software. This may (and it's a big may) be even more so, since Microsoft claim that Windows 10 will be the "last Windows", so the software you purchase for it may last even longer over the new updates to Windows 10.

You may, as has also been suggested, want to take a look at some of the open source free software that is available. In most cases, you can find an open source alternative to any of the commercial offerings. BUT and again this is a really big BUT, they are not the same, the interfaces are different, some features are very different, like macros for LibreOffice compared with Microsoft Office. The GIMP is about as user friendly as a hungry tiger! So there will be a learning curve. Once learned, of course, there isn't a better price than free!

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Induced economies of scale.
by Carsto / May 30, 2016 3:07 AM PDT

The way in which you try to equate buying with leasing is not quite comparing apples to apples. You lock yourself in to the induced thinking created by Microsoft. Without being surreptitious, these companies have one thing in mind only, as is their right; to make money. Period. But there is a dichotomy as displayed by cell phone companies. Their biggest revenue comes form the cash airtime market, but they will insist on servicing the contract market better. Why? It keeps on milking the cash cow to every month end.

Besides money the secured provable monthly income is the biggest motivator. Then, in this case, if you buy, will you buy again next time? Like heck! Not going to chance that at all. Make them slaves!!

Then again to my pet project, Yozosoft Office 2007. Now updated to 2012. I bought it then (2007) for 20% (ZAR800 vs ZAR 4000) of the price for the flagship MS Office. It is a dead ringer for MSO with a very flat learning curve. All MS facilities included and a large host of other things. Last looked at their prices about 5 months ago; USD 145! Written in Java, it can run on Linux as well. I have now used the exact same distro disc to install it on . . . surprise! 98, forgot that one, XP, 7 and 8 and my Acer Netbook.

You have to look at longer terms and take all your expenses in this regard into account. You cannot used MS' dictated cycles of updates to get anywhere near any sane answer. Another question has bugged me for a long time now; how much money has been wasted by little people like you and I in order to keep our systems running? In terms of repairs, downtime because the update did not work as boasted and all sorts of other costs we had to incur while effectively subsidizing MS to get their knickers out of the knots. And it goes on and on. If you want to talk to an MS direct response agent in order to solve an issue, you first have to lay down X amount of folding clams before they would even listen to you.

When last did you update your Android smart phone? Did you ever? Upgrades to a new OS, yes, but as a voluntary offer, whenever you want it. This Linux system has not seen anywhere near the animosity MS has. You know, my old Brit uncle once said to me if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, waddles like duck and swims like a duck, it most probable is an efffin' duck. Oh yes and MS has now gone "open source" with various moves. OK. Good? Why then no openness on their policy as regards 10? Why then the schlenter to get you to update to 10? Why then do you have to have hardware manufacturers install the UEFI protocol by default? Oh, but that's because of the virus thing! Now where did that come from? In response to what? MS was its own worst enemy and now makes profit out of it hand over fist. A friend of mine has not updated his Win 7 system for over five years now and has had nary a murmur from viruses. He just has a good anti virus app running.

The bully boy days of Microsoft are over with their new CEO Nadella? Not on your life! It is a simple case of caveat emptor. Buyer beware. After taking stock in an even wider sense in terms of time and money wasted, I have enrolled for Linux, website and Java courses to switch over all my systems to Linux. In the end event I would be able to diagnose and debug systems without the incessant insistence on updating. Assuredly, it will not be without work, but the time spent will have some much more efficient and pointedly effective results.

I have no affiliation to Yozosoft, whatsoever. The thing works and it's just plain bloody good!

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Wow! You have a problem with Microsoft!
by RichG NY / May 30, 2016 8:20 AM PDT

They're just a company trying to make money like the rest of us. They do some pretty good things, just like the rest of us. In fact, they've made the world a much better place with the tech they've invented over the past 25 years.

They've also done some bad things, just like the rest of us.

Really not worth griping about. And yes I understand that you love your Linux & your reverse engineered copy of Office. That's cool too.

It's all good.

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Newer comp?
by richteral / May 21, 2016 5:08 AM PDT

The range of free software is such there is effectively no need to buy anything unless you were professionally bound to. Get Open Source: definitely LibreOffice (better than MS Office for everyday use); GIMP might be too much, but you will be literally spoilt for choice - IrfanView, Paint.NET, FastStone, XnView, and so on and on.
Money to spend? Get free, and donate!

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Renting is better..
by feduchin / May 21, 2016 6:45 AM PDT

I have been renting Office 365 for a couple of years and I think it's becoming the best way.
It gives me almost the total Office suite, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Skype, OneDrive (I know you can get that without Office), and several others, but the big one is 1 terabyte of free storage.
Also I get several licenses, one of which I give to my daughter.
All for AU$12 per month, which I think is a good deal; less in the U.S.
If you are heavy into graphics etc then I've heard that the Adobe deal is good too.
You might think it works out at a bit over a year, but one other big thing is the automatic updates and upgrades. I've already had my Office 365 fully upgraded twice from 2014 through 2015, and now to 2016.
No extra cost at all..

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Need and usefulness
by Willy / May 21, 2016 11:16 AM PDT

Yes, these is now rental or fee based access to s/w vs. the purchase. This isn't new especially for corporate users, but now it applies widely for private users. If your actual need because its a popular used pgm. and your use is on a daily or weekly basis, then buying is just the way to go. Even if the s/w becomes dated, your old s/w should be the basis for a reduced cost or allowance for lower cost for continued use. If your usage is little or very limited then maybe getting the yearly fee is lower but again it depends on your usage.

IMHO, I hate any fee based s/w it means that they have the desire to reach yet again into your pocket. If I were a business, I wouldn't be so alarmed but certainly you think of ways around it, like freeware or maybe Linux based s/w, etc. The whole piont then is to review what my costs are but at the same time view is it worth the hassle to go away from the popularly supported pgms. or can I live on less capable. Even here that may not be the case because many popular freeware or even shareware are up to the task. Of course, how you disperse that data is a key way of how it all works in the long run for you. I suggest anyone to review the true needs and of course see what available to even try some free or shareware solution.

I part if I were a business, just stay with the commercial or paid for versions and move on. As a private user see how much I need that popular based pgm. to reduce my headaches as I disperse my data.

tada -----Willy Happy

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by Bob_Meyer / May 21, 2016 6:47 PM PDT

I would rather amortize the cost than plunk down a big chunk of money every now and then. I tend to stay more or less current on hardware and software. On the other hand, I make purchasing decisions for family, friends and my church, so it's important to do due diligence.

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Ask yourself...
by rje49 / May 24, 2016 6:45 AM PDT

Why has Microsoft offered subscription based software? To make more money, of course. They know most users keep their computers & software more than 2 years, so comsumers (like you & me) will end up paying more. It's pretty simple.

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