4. RENT-YER-OFFICE EXPERIMENT GOES BELLY-UP
Ever so quietly Microsoft has dropped their subscription
version of Office XP that was on trial in various countries
As we long suspected, the trouble came on the first
anniversary when people found themselves with a very
crippled copy of Office XP and faced with demands for
another annual fee.
According to Microsoft 'the subscription model was not well
understood' - if that was really the problem (and we doubt
it) then Microsoft only has itself to blame. The company
reneged on their original plans to have the annual license
version much more clearly marked as such. The original
boxes had 'Subscription Version' marked right across the
box, not just a much smaller note in the corner.
In addition Microsoft Australia tried to push Office XP by
highlighting the low entry price - a sure way to mislead
Microsoft says that the subscription version was 'popular'
which is utter nonsense. If it was popular then they would
not be canceling the scheme early.
The real reasons for the failure of the subscription model
have little to do with people not understanding the
concept. Most people understood all too well and didn't
buy it in the first place.
At $400 a year in Australia vs around $1,200 for the normal
full licence you'd be silly to buy the subscription
version. After 3 years you'd be paying more. The 'free'
upgrade means little since most people are wary and tired
of upgrading. We prefer to switch at our discretion - not
Most people did notice that there was absolutely NO
guarantee that the subscription price would not increase.
Microsoft tried to imply that the price would not change
but WOW's efforts to get an answer from Microsoft Australia
on this sensitive point got no reply.
Businesses are being effectively forced by Microsoft to an
annual payment model but such strong-arm tactics will be
harder to foist on the general public.
Microsoft is still committed to us paying each year for our
software. It is a corporate imperative that's being poorly
disguised as a benefit to users. The delusions /
self-delusions in Microsoft's announcement of the premature
end of the trial show we've not seen the last of this
effort to gouge more money from us.