How software is sold Pros and Cons

How software is sold Pros and Cons

A lot has changed in the last 10 years in the software market. We have drifted away from a time when all software was bought, downloaded and then used. “Free to play” ,SAAS, advertising and the selling of big data have become the new de facto methods of earning money as opposed to a once off purchase of a licence and/or disk. Below are some of the pro’s and con’s of both the new and old methods of purchase.

Paying up front:

Pro’s of paying up front for software.

  • You can use the full product straight away with little in extra charges to pay.

  • You can sometimes install the software on multiple machines.

  • Customer support is often included.

  • You only have to pay once and you can keep using the software after that.

  • Your data is not usually harvested for use elsewhere.

Con’s of paying up front.

  • Can be very costly.

  • Might have to pay again for updated versions.

  • If you only want the software for a short period of time its not very economical.


 Free Software:

Pro’s of getting a software product free.

  • Its free.

  • Its updates are usually free.

Con’s of getting software for free.

  • Usually your data is being collected in some way to then be sold in order to pay for the software.

  • Advertising is also frequently used and can quickly become a source of annoyance if not integrated correctly.

  • If it is being hosted on the cloud or anyway then you are at the mercy of the hosting provider. If the hosting goes down it is often hard to find the right channels to complain to.


Software as a Service:

Pro’s of Software as a Service

  • You only have to pay a small fee, regularly.

  • Usually comes with free upgrades.

  • Can be stopped after a short period of time.

Con’s of Sass

  • You feel like you never truly own the software.

  • Your access can be taken away very easily.

  • Your data is at the mercy of the software provider.


Free to Play, Pay to Unlock:

Pro’s of “Free to Play/ Pay to Unlock” model

  • Free to play or use initial game or service.

Con’s of “Free to Play/ Pay to Unlock”

  • Most of the good features are locked away behind a buy wall.

  • You can easily spend a lot more on a pay to unlock service than it would cost you for a normal once off buy.



What we can clearly see from the above is that there are many different ways of paying for the software available, but what we must also realise is that nothing is ever free and if we are not paying upfront we must be aware of the implications of giving away our private data. The amount of security flaws being exploited by hackers is rising daily. Are you comfortable to pay nothing and risk your intimate details getting into the hands of someone else?

Is the move to the new models affecting the quality of our software due to developers trying to figure out more ways of making you pay for additional features or items at the cost of developing and improving the core product? As the years go by more ways of selling software is sure to appear, just make sure you find the method which suits you the most when both buying and selling as they can have huge implications to both you and your business.

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