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Software Pricing Has Gone Insane
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Waragainstsleep
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Jan 16, 2022, 06:26 AM
 
I'm struggling with the demented levels of greed in recent software SAAS providers. Theres some great tools out there but the prices are unsustainable.

I last night I found a nifty looking calendar/to-do/scheduling app that looks very close to something I had a notion about building. Mine was simpler, but this one uses AI to automatically schedule tasks in your calendar. Its $19 per month. For a calendar. In a browser. So far as I can see, it doesn't plug in to your existing calendar platforms (I could be wrong about that).
Thats nearly twice as much as you'd pay Microsoft for a 50GB hosted Exchange mailbox, 1TB Sharepoint, Teams access, and various other features too numerous to learn about let alone list. For a fancy calendar.

I have a ticketing platform with is similarly priced for one user. I just looked at a time tracker that tells you how long you spend in each app on your Mac or PC to help you with billing. Something like that would have been $5-20 one off ten or fifteen years ago. Now its $12 per month. Still more than the Office suite mentioned above with email etc.

Salesforce licenses can top $100 per user per month. Using more than ten software tools would drive the average small business bankrupt in weeks. Its completely ridiculous.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
Laminar
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Jan 18, 2022, 11:01 AM
 
Blame the MBAs looking at Netflix and realizing that if you can get people on the hook for a monthly fee that they forget about, you'll capture several orders of magnitude more profit than if you just let them buy what they needed.

Even automakers are testing the waters, forcing people to pay a subscription fee for things like heated seats, CarPlay, and remote start.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/alistai...h=72034d3f3c64

https://www.thedrive.com/tech/43636/...ssive-blowback

Every press release is just a test to see what they can get away with - so far there's always been blowback and they "reconsider," but eventually they'll get what they want.
     
Brien
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Jan 19, 2022, 01:49 AM
 
There was a WSJ article 2-3 years ago along the lines of everything’s a subscription and we own nothing (in the future).
     
OreoCookie
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Jan 19, 2022, 02:21 AM
 
For corporate software, licensing fees have long been insane. AMD makes chips for software that is licensed by the core (it only has 8 cores, but with all the cache memory that usually serves 8 cores and stratospheric clock frequencies). There was one piece of software I used to use, and the standard license only includes support for 2 cores for $2,000 per year with (!) education discount. Companies shell out five-digit amounts per year and seat.

Then there are the likes of Adobe et al., which have switched to a subscription model. As far as I can tell, if you always kept your Creative Suite up to date, subscription pricing isn't that far off. But in practice, I of course know that many people continue to work with versions that are many years old.

Companies like BMW demanding money for regular car features, now this is just a naked money grab.

For individual services and smaller software shops, I am much more conflicted. I'm a cyclist and there is one service I use for training, TrainerRoad. They are self-funded (i. e. no VC funding), have superb customer service, a great podcast, knowledgable employees and guests (think current Olympians). But they are strapped for cash now that growth has tapered off. Amounts that may seem expensive for us might be totally necessary to fund the operation, especially once you have any form of customer support. Many 1- or 2-person software shops with apps in app stores simply skimp out on support, because that is expensive, they'd have to earn enough to make payroll for other employees, etc.
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
andi*pandi
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Jan 19, 2022, 12:04 PM
 
Originally Posted by Brien View Post
There was a WSJ article 2-3 years ago along the lines of everything’s a subscription and we own nothing (in the future).
Well, "the kids these days" don't even use physical media. It's all youtube or spotify... I tell them that the artists they supposedly love get very little $ from that, but ah well.
     
subego
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Jan 19, 2022, 12:16 PM
 
In 2020 I bought 13 tracks from iTunes.

In 2021 I bought 2.
     
Laminar
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Jan 19, 2022, 12:35 PM
 
When's the last time you bought physical media?
     
subego
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Jan 19, 2022, 12:40 PM
 
For music? 2012. That was the last time I wanted something which wasn’t available on iTunes.


Edit: I got the BR 2049 Blu-ray in 2018.
( Last edited by subego; Jan 19, 2022 at 01:09 PM. )
     
subego
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Jan 19, 2022, 12:44 PM
 
Full disclosure: somewhere along the line, my setup to play Pandora with Alexa broke, so I didn’t listen to a lot of music in 2021. Thankfully that’s been fixed.
     
MacNNFamous
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Jan 19, 2022, 01:31 PM
 
pfft, all childs play.

This is the main software I use for work:

https://novedge.com/products/alias-a...31019972132922

We have ~10 designers that need this, so it's well over 50k/year.

What I don't get is I've mentioned we could be using other software and save tons of money... but.... nah. We've always done this.

>shrug<
     
andi*pandi
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Jan 20, 2022, 02:48 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
For music? 2012. That was the last time I wanted something which wasn’t available on iTunes.
Edit: I got the BR 2049 Blu-ray in 2018.
but subego, even buying music on itunes is for TEH OLDS. I have given them itunes giftcards which they just don't use. Even with access to all my already ripped music, rather than make an 80s itunes playlist they make an 80s playlist in spotify. It eats up their cell data, which bugs the heck out of me, and is full of ads, but they find it simpler.

I will have to rethink my cd purchasing (the cloud isn't forever) when I cease to have access to a machine with a cd drive.

I was amused at the apple store this weekend to see that the graphic apps on the new 24" imacs included the affinity suite not adobe.
https://affinity.serif.com/en-us/designer/
     
subego
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Jan 20, 2022, 03:40 PM
 
I mean, the kids are kinda right?

The only reason I buy music from iTunes is I’m on team Pandora, so that’s the only way to do on-demand without another subscription.
( Last edited by subego; Jan 20, 2022 at 06:55 PM. )
     
BLAZE_MkIV
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Jan 20, 2022, 03:55 PM
 
They make these boxes with usb cables that read CDs.
     
ghporter
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Jan 20, 2022, 04:58 PM
 
Originally Posted by MacNNFamous View Post
pfft, all childs play.

This is the main software I use for work:

https://novedge.com/products/alias-a...31019972132922

We have ~10 designers that need this, so it's well over 50k/year.

What I don't get is I've mentioned we could be using other software and save tons of money... but.... nah. We've always done this.

>shrug<
Geeeeeeezzzzz! I thought AutoDesk was expensive. Your SW is more than ten times as much as AutoDesk!!!

When I got a Windows 10 laptop last year so I could run “only on Windows” stuff, it came with all the “365” stuff installed, just waiting to be activated. I installed LibreOffice instead. And I keep saying “no” to Microsoft’s pushes to upgrade to Win11.

One bit of subscription stuff I actually paid for was McAfee. Big mistake. Too invasive, and not particularly better than Windows 10’s built in antivirus stuff. So…I’m going to wipe and reinstall 10 without the bloatware, without the 365 and McAfee, and so on. And maybe I’ll be able to configure the box so that it doesn’t hide half of the stuff I need to use to set up printers, storage, and so on.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
OreoCookie
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Jan 20, 2022, 09:01 PM
 
Originally Posted by MacNNFamous View Post
pfft, all childs play.

This is the main software I use for work:

https://novedge.com/products/alias-a...31019972132922

We have ~10 designers that need this, so it's well over 50k/year.
Once you go more niche, that will appear cheap.
Comsol (the software I mentioned) xis more expensive, at least if you add licenses for an appropriate amount of cores. Last time I checked they don’t even list their license fees on their website. A 2-core edu license is $2k/year. There is a free edu version, but it has severe limitations on the mesh size (used to discretize the differential equations) so that it is useless for anything but extremely basic geometries. Most of the jobs are embarrassingly parallel tasks (the same computation for different parameters). If you work in a team, you need to schedule tasks, etc. Given the amount of cores you can get (especially with AMD systems), I don’t think wanting licenses for 32 cores are unreasonable. That’s $16k per year in an edu environment. I wouldn’t be surprised if you needed to 2–4x as a company.

Dealing with the licenses (even when you have them) was an absolute nightmare. Literally, two PhDs (and one with years and years of experience) couldn’t figure it out, because the machine wouldn’t want to connect with the internal licensing server and thus, wouldn’t want to run the simulation. (You can run the software alright, but you just can run any simulations. The internal licensing server would know how many compute instances you have paid for and what other constraints there are.) Effing nightmare. I vowed to never touch it again.
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
subego
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Jan 20, 2022, 10:02 PM
 
The one that fucked me over is Red Giant, who makes After Effects filters, switched from a “$600 license plus 5 free render nodes” model to “$600 per node” model.
     
Waragainstsleep  (op)
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Jan 21, 2022, 08:15 PM
 
Originally Posted by MacNNFamous View Post
pfft, all childs play.

This is the main software I use for work:

https://novedge.com/products/alias-a...31019972132922

We have ~10 designers that need this, so it's well over 50k/year.
Specialist software has long been in the skys-the-limit realm but thats the sort of thing that is essential to do a job. A job that will earn the owners more than the subscription costs.

I'm talking about a fancy calendar app for $19 per month. Its the sort of scale and specificity that means you would need a dozen or so such apps just to do the most basic office admin type barely above minimum wage job and you're rapidly going to hit $200 per user per month for basic tools.

I understand the desire to want subscribers and regular income but that kind of price for such an app is going to seriously hamper your potential for growth down the line. I've since decided they must be explicitly targeting busy CEO-types who are cash rich and time poor as they will see most benefit from it but it still seems feature poor (or integration poor) for that kind of price. And theres a limited number of those folks around. And many of them are so busy they let their IT people tell them what tools to use and those people are gonna say "$200+ a year for a calendar app? Get fucked are we paying that!"

What's wrong with $2 a month for a simple, one job app? Pure greed.



Originally Posted by MacNNFamous View Post
We've always done this.

>shrug<
I'm increasingly coming to the conclusion that this is the reason everything sucks. There are so many simple, effective changes we could make to the world but this kind of thinking seems to have become a blanket excuse for everything staying as shit as it always has been. Even when its getting even worse. I'll get political real fast if I go into any more detail on that.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
OreoCookie
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Jan 21, 2022, 08:58 PM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
Specialist software has long been in the skys-the-limit realm but thats the sort of thing that is essential to do a job. A job that will earn the owners more than the subscription costs.
And the market is usually tiny. When I was at uni about 15, 17 years ago, a few acquaintances of mine I met through the Mac user group (themselves PhD students) had written a pro color correction app for movies — pro as in Hollywood movie studios. When they went to WWDC, they would go to LA before or afterwards to meet with clients. I don’t quite remember what they charged per copy, but it was a lot. On the other hand, their customer base was tiny. I think they did 14 or 16 bit processing of the colors (don’t remember which), which was a first back then, and for a while they were the only game in town. They had the math background to do the math and the Mac sensibilities to make it usable.

When it comes to e. g. mechanics, the situation is quite similar. Very often you need a special tool to get the job done. I see this with bikes, and there the tools are still relatively cheap and affordable.
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
I'm increasingly coming to the conclusion that this is the reason everything sucks. There are so many simple, effective changes we could make to the world but this kind of thinking seems to have become a blanket excuse for everything staying as shit as it always has been. Even when its getting even worse. I'll get political real fast if I go into any more detail on that.
This resistance to change is quite overwhelming sometimes. Very often when something changes, people will then flip as if nothing had happened. I remember some people living close to the new Tesla factory in Germany. It was built in one of the poorest state in the countryside. And when they interviewed people, some would lament that they wouldn’t like all the changes. Ugh. As someone whose personality is wired so that change can’t come fast enough, this is really ugh.
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
subego
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Yesterday, 02:36 PM
 
Originally Posted by andi*pandi View Post
Even with access to all my already ripped music…
Have the kids come begging for a hit of Neil Young?
     
andi*pandi
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Yesterday, 02:46 PM
 
Not yet, but they also don't listen to joe rogan either, so that's a draw.

Surprisingly, in my library there's only 1 CSN&Y song... but my library is also messed up. I need to merge two libraries and have not done it.
     
subego
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Yesterday, 03:28 PM
 
Don’t ever ask them “why?”
They choose to Spotify
So, just look at them and sigh
And know they love you
     
   
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