Why call Office 365 a software ‘subscription’ when it’s really renting?
A few readers have asked us why Office-Watch.com calls the new way to get Office 2013 ‘renting’ when it’s called ‘subscription’ by Microsoft.
Microsoft relentlessly uses the word ‘subscription’ to describe their preferred way to pay for Office 2013 but that doesn’t mean their use of the word is accurate.
Microsoft carefully and deliberately chose the word ‘subscribe’. It sounds like paying for a magazine or newspaper.
“Rent’ has all manner of negative connotations – if you stop paying rent, the rented house or software is taken away from you. That’s exactly what happens with an Office software ‘subscription’ … if you stop paying, Office stops working.
If you stop paying rent, Office reverts to ‘limited functionality mode’, effectively ‘read-only’ software which can open and display documents but not edit or print.
That’s why we call it ‘renting’ – because that’s what it is both legally and in practice. You’re paying for the right to use something (Office software) for a specified period. When you ‘buy’ Office or any other software you are really getting a ‘perpetual’ right to use not an actual purchase.
Need more? We turn to the Oxford English Dictionary for definitions:
Subscribe “arrange to receive something, typically a publication, regularly by paying in advance“
Rent “pay someone for the use of“
The key difference is the word ‘something’ a subscription is usually for something tangible while renting is for the use of an object or service for a limited time.
Adobe Systems have adopted a similar model for Photoshop – and they call it ‘renting’. We’re not sure if that’s corporate honesty or it means Adobe isn’t as good at marketing as Microsoft.
Microsoft will keep calling it a ‘subscription’ because that suits their marketing aims, we’ll call it ‘rent’ because that’s what it really is.
- Sharing an Office 365 rental cost
- Another view on Office 365 subscriptions
- Sharing your Office 365 / Office 2013 subscription
- Why renew Office 365?
- Planned obsolescence in Office
- Why Office for iPhone will never be any good
- Office 365 and Office 2013 – what’s the difference?
- Future Subscription Possibilities
- Subscription price trap
- Office 2013 licenses now transferable
- Another look at Aussie Office 2013 pricing
- Office 2013 prices double and beyond
- Office 2013 pricing summary
- Office 2013 on Demand
- Musings on Microsoft’s financials