Why so many subscription apps


richxps

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Original poster
Jun 9, 2008
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Developers want to make money off their work and have a recurring revenue stream
Some are worth it, most are not IMO, but that is up to the user to decide what value apps bring

The only ones I pay a subscription for are:
NordVPN
1Password
Dropbox

These I can understand, but some are just outrageous.
 
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revmacian

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Oct 20, 2018
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Some apps charge money on a subscription basis because the app is actively using something that is owned by the developer (i.e. server space for storage). I feel this is understandable, since the developer is insuring a cost. Otherwise, the app should be free or require a one-time charge to pay for the app.
 

maflynn

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Staff member
May 3, 2009
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Vote with your wallet, which is what I do.

I understand the mentality developers want a consistent revenue stream, yet for the consumer its not very useful. The problem as I see it, is not 1Password, Adobe, or MS. Its the combined weight of all possible subscriptions. You can easily spend well over a hundred dollars a month on subscriptions if you're not careful. Do I want to spend 1,200 dollars a year just to use some apps? No and so I generally don't.

I'm down to two subscriptions, Adobe and MS. While I do get value from MS, I don't find myself using the office suite much, my kids use google and so I think I'll be looking to drop the use of MS Office. Adobe, is a different story. I tried to switch off of Lightroom for a good portion of 2018, but in the end, I switch back. The primary reason is, there is no other competing product (that's not a subscription), that offers what Lightroom offers, so I begrudgingly pay for that and will continue.

I realize the topic is for iOS apps, but I wanted to give my $.02 for the entire software world
 

MisterSavage

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Nov 10, 2018
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Developers want to make money off their work and have a recurring revenue stream
Some are worth it, most are not IMO, but that is up to the user to decide what value apps bring

The only ones I pay a subscription for are:
NordVPN
1Password
Dropbox
Plus 1Password makes the subscription optional. You can still pay outright for it. That's what I do.
 

BasicGreatGuy

Contributor
Sep 21, 2012
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In the middle of several books.
I don't have a problem paying for a subscription app, provided the developer is responsive to contact and creates regular updates to fix bugs and address client needs.

Do any of you like working for free, or creating a project and then never getting paid again? I doubt it. Some of the Apple consumers here are some of the cheapest people I have ever read from. Many of you spend thousands on Apple hardware a year, and then complain about $30 dollars or so a year, so good developers can keep providing the app.
 

max2

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May 31, 2015
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Developers want to make money off their work and have a recurring revenue stream
Some are worth it, most are not IMO, but that is up to the user to decide what value apps bring

The only ones I pay a subscription for are:
NordVPN
1Password
Dropbox
Bingo.
 

Paradoxally

macrumors 68000
Feb 4, 2011
1,587
1,813
If an app is truly invaluable, I pay for the monthly sub. For example, 1Password. It stores the keys to my digital life, it's secure, cross-platform, and I don't want to use the same password for everything (obviously) so I pay the fee.

VPNs I can understand too, although it's much better to buy a year's worth in some flash sale and be done with that.

Everything else, not so much for me. There are a ton of sub-based apps nowadays because devs want steady revenue each month. If you're not careful it piles up. $5 there, $2 here...my advice: use Bobby (app) to manage your subs. You might be shocked at the amount you're paying once you add them all up.

and then complain about $30 dollars or so a year
Yeah, but you're thinking individually. The majority of people have subs to many services/apps.
 

JayMysterio

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Apr 24, 2010
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Rock Ridge, California
I don't have a problem paying for a subscription app, provided the developer is responsive to contact and creates regular updates to fix bugs and address client needs.

Do any of you like working for free, or creating a project and then never getting paid again? I doubt it. Some of the Apple consumers here are some of the cheapest people I have ever read from. Many of you spend thousands on Apple hardware a year, and then complain about $30 dollars or so a year, so good developers can keep providing the app.
One factor that needs to be remembered is that the subscription model is a relatively recent change in how consumers deal with products for phones or computers. If one is used to for years buying photoshop at what many thought was highly exorbitant prices, but at least you owned it. To a subscription model with a bit of a price tag still, but now you don't 'own' it, that's quite an adjustment.

Remember we also went thru the whole dust up of when developers did recurrent new versions of software. People at first were used to free updates, but companies explained that wasn't sustainable. So we had new versions coming out every so often. Where it became an issue is that some companies kept coming up with new versions more & more frequently and expecting consumers to pay for each new version. That caused blowback. Then we moved to the current idea of subscription based.

Of course there's the whole value argument, but I think for many it becomes an issue of paying for things you no longer own. That's a mindset that many are not comfortable with. It's a changing system that works for some, doesn't work for others. It just falls on the consumer whether they spent thousands on a product or less than a hundred, if they are comfortable with a subscription based model. Many are just not comfortable with that yet. It doesn't necessarily mean those people are wrong or cheap, it can mean that the company hasn't offered up a compelling enough argument to justify the subscription based model. Which means a good consumer is wise in seeking an alternative, if that is what they feel is best for them.
 

revmacian

macrumors 6502a
Oct 20, 2018
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USA
When I pay for an app I go into it thinking I'm buying an app and the deal is done. I don't count on updates but I do count on support if I need it because it is a product - just like buying a car or a house.

It is my opinion that developers shouldn't count on a steady income stream from current customers - it's not like that when you buy a hat or a pair of shoes so it shouldn't be like that when you buy software. If developers want a steady income stream they'll have to earn it the same way manufacturers have been doing it for centuries.. by creating new products and cultivating new customers. The software subscription model is a cancer on society and I will not contribute to it.

Just my $0.02
 
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Mr. Heckles

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Mar 20, 2018
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When I pay for an app I go into it thinking I'm buying an app and the deal is done. I don't count on updates but I do count on support if I need it because it is a product - just like buying a car or a house.

It is my opinion that developers shouldn't count on a steady income stream from current customers - it's not like that when you buy a hat or a pair of shoes so it shouldn't be like that when you buy software. If developers want a steady income stream they'll have to earn it the same way manufacturers have been doing it for centuries.. by creating new products and cultivating new customers. The software subscription model is a cancer on society and I will not contribute to it.

Just my $0.02
You can lease a car...

When I 1st got 1Password, it was $35 per computer at the time. Then if I wanted Windows, I had to buy another licence... I don't remember how much (Later they had a bundle). Then if I wanted iOS and Android... I had to pay more. Now with the family substitution, it's less than $1 a month per family member with unlimited computers.

Just myself, I have 2 Windows computers, 1 Linux, 1 Android, 2 iOS, and 2 Macs. That's 8 devices (6 due to the Mac's and iOS devices can share), I bet that's way more money that $12 a year.

Some subscriptions are a joke, but some make sense.
 
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revmacian

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Oct 20, 2018
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USA
You can lease a car...

When I 1st got 1Password, it was $35 per computer at the time. Then if I wanted Windows, I had to buy another licence... I don't remember how much (Later they had a bundle). Then if I wanted iOS and Android... I had to pay more. Now with the family substitution, it's less than $1 a month per family member with unlimited computers.

Just myself, I have 2 Windows computers, 1 Linux, 1 Android, 2 iOS, and 2 Macs. That's 8 devices (6 due to the Mac's and iOS devices can share), I bet that's way more money that $12 a year.

Some subscriptions are a joke, but some make sense.
And here I bought Password Safe for a one-time cost and can use it on any number of computers for years.. without a subscription fee.
 

Mr. Heckles

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Mar 20, 2018
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Which of those answers will you use to twist around and justify a subscription model?

Suffice it to say, if I get injured and/or lose my job tomorrow, I will still have the app and it will still work even if I never find another job.
None. There are free ones out there too. Why even pay for one then?

I’m just asking because I test these out. I’ve tried a few so I can help people with them. I personally find 1Password one of the easiest to use. I can have shared values with other family members as well. That and the cross platform was the biggest selling points to me. Not all do that (have her to find a free one that does this).

If I lose my job I still have access. I got a gift card on sale and I have about 3 years saves up. I can always export my data as well even if I’m not paying... even have access to my data and not pay.
 

bigboy29

macrumors regular
May 19, 2016
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Which one? On different platforms? Updates included? How much was it?
There are options. KeePass and the variety of it's clients run on pretty much everything and I sync the database and share it securely with my wife through OneDrive. There are paid apps (onetime fee), there are free ones and they work great in all forms. All receive updates on all devices I use them.

Bottom line is - subscriptions are a better deal for a developer generally speaking. Therefore there has been a push in that direction. I'll pay a subscription if I really need something. Other times, I'll pay money outright to get an app (or to remove ads, if I use the app a lot). It is IMO silly to avoid subscriptions at all cost but I understand the draw of 'pay once and be done' idea also.
 

skaertus

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Feb 23, 2009
3,222
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Brazil
I only pay a subscription to Microsoft Office, which is the only one I really need. Apart from that, I always go for free software, or software that I have to pay just once to get it.

I can understand that the subscription model is good for the developer. But I do not think this model is sustainable for all software. For decades, software was sold, and not subscribed to. And now that are far more devices than decades ago, developers could make a living out of selling apps instead of making users pay subscriptions.
 
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Mr. Heckles

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There are options. KeePass and the variety of it's clients run on pretty much everything and I sync the database and share it securely with my wife through OneDrive. There are paid apps (onetime fee), there are free ones and they work great in all forms. All receive updates on all devices I use them.

Bottom line is - subscriptions are a better deal for a developer generally speaking. Therefore there has been a push in that direction. I'll pay a subscription if I really need something. Other times, I'll pay money outright to get an app (or to remove ads, if I use the app a lot). It is IMO silly to avoid subscriptions at all cost but I understand the draw of 'pay once and be done' idea also.
IMO KeePass UI is horrible on Windows, one of the reasons I dropped it. Getting my 70+ old parents to use a password manager, and make it so they cannot lock themselves out, 1Password subscription was the way to go. My mom locks herself out, I can get her account recovered for her. Another great benefit of it.

I use Linux as well, a lot of free apps with them, but they are anything but user friendly. If it was just me, I would use a free one, but having older people to help, nope. But $12 a year per person is a steal especially I can put it on countless of devices on any platform.
 

bigboy29

macrumors regular
May 19, 2016
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IMO KeePass UI is horrible on Windows, one of the reasons I dropped it.
Agreed; depending on the use, the solution you have might be best. That being said - PassKeep on Windows BTW if you were looking for an UWP app.

For my kids, I bought them a license of Enpass for their phones and the Windows app is free. Because - I agree that KeePass is a bit too much PITA.