Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Do You Need to Own It?

Last Friday Microsoft Corp launched a new test program code-named "Albany" which is Office 2007 on subscription instead of their more traditional one-time license fee model. Consumers will get a bundle which also includes Windows Live OneCare, a Web-based security software, Windows Live Mail and Office Live Workspace. It is responding to stiff and growing competition from the likes of Google, which are offering office applications via a Web browser for free or a monthly subscription.

This shift of ‘out the box’ software from a one time licence to subscription model reflects a growing trend towards subscription. Will this prevail in the digital booktrade where you buy a subscription to a library of resource and use as you need it? We have already raised the question of libraries and also why consumers would want to ‘own’ digital files they probably will only use once when they can subscribe to a library and use as required. The alternative is BOD (Buy on Demand) were you pay for what you use when you use it and are permanently connected.

So if software is starting to move away from off outright purchase and music is already experimenting with what appears to be every model but outright purchase what of the ebook and digital content?