When Is It Better To Rent Software Than To Buy It?

Editing station with Adobe Premiere on monitor.



GrizzlyAK's picture

Finally, an article written by someone who is apparently NOT being paid by Adobe to push their subscription licensing. This article is fair and balanced, and points out several topics that many users jumping onto the CC bandwagon haven't yet experienced or thought about - but they will. Adobe is counting on that, once they have you (and all your projects) committed to CC versions. Having spent a career in SW engineering, I see this as a boon to Adobe who, based upon the user forums, are using CC's user base as a beta test group. Adobe failed at innovation with CS4, 5, and 5.5, which is why many of us skipped them altogether and waited for CS6, and why Adobe has eliminated perpetual licensing completely - to force your hand.


There are a few instances where renting SW might be beneficial, but by-and-large, in my experience in the SW industry, perpetual licensing will serve us better, as the author pointed out. A decade ago, there was a big push for 'application hosting', where you'd actually run the SW on a company's computer and you'd get only a screen grab from a 'thin' client. That never took off, especially when major corporations realized who had control of all their data and the vast, and very real, security concerns with any such 'cloud' solution. Adobe's model is different in that it lets you download the SW and run it on your own desktop. The only advantage to the user is a marginal cost savings if you're the type to upgrade every major release, and just absolutely can't live without the latest gadgets and features (i.e., you don't actually do much). The downsides are many, including a constant stream of new problems to debug (read the forums to see what I mean), new features to learn, adjusting your workflow, upgrading every project you've ever done in the past just so you can be certain you'll have access to them in the future, costly upgrades to your HW on Adobe's schedule, etc., etc. Will you have time to actually get anything done with all of that extra effort? Something to think about. If this wasn't all about SW slavery and Adobe's bottom line, then they could easily freeze a version every 12-18 months and sell it as a perpetual license, and have the best of both worlds. But then, that wouldn't be slavery.

Rent or Buy

tomsyl's picture

Totally agree.  I said goodbye to Adobe as soon as they went to subscription-based products.

bad for educational institutions

This was the worst thing for us as an educational institution. Instead of spending a thousands of dollars up front and having Adobe CS to use over a number of years, we would have to spend thousands per year for the site license. It's obscenely more expensive - and shortsighted. Students would get used to working with the software and want to continue using it on their own (this is what Apple did back in the day through heavily discounted education programs). Now we're riding out our current CS5 as long as possible before another program will take its place (BlackMagic???).


Morty72's picture

Completely agree with Breakers about licensing. As somebody that oversees video for a large school district, Adobe has made it very difficult for schools to keep up. I really don't want to put together a PO every month (I'm sure there's ways around that), or be forced to upgrade every month... that's essentially what they're asking. I need new software every 3 or 4 years. We have gone from CS 4, to CS 5.5, and then CS 6. We put together a seat license and we're done. Adobe has forced us to look at other software... something I'm not looking forward to.

Forgetting others

Ahem...what about DAVINCI RESOLVE 12 OR LIGHT(for free) or HITFILM 3 EXPRESS (free) or HITFILM 4 PRO? These are two other great options for beginners and pros alike.