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Office 2019’s One-Time Purchase Model a Sop to “Old Fogy” Computer Users


By Charles Miller

In a recent Microsoft press release, there was some very welcome news for the computer users who describes as “old fogies who prefer standalone software.”

It is no secret that Microsoft and other software makers would like to see all computer programs licensed under the terms of Software as a Service (SaaS), where the software on your computer or smartphone is accessible via the Internet and licensed to users on a subscription basis. SaaS applications are also known as Web-based software, on-demand software, and hosted software. Microsoft gave this a try with the 2011 release of Office 365, but apparently a lot of “old fogies” don’t want to pay a hundred dollars every year for a word processor and spreadsheet.

Clearly, the software industry dreads users like me, because I purchased a legal license for Microsoft Office back in 2001 and it still works just fine, thank you very much. I write documents all the time, I use spreadsheets, and none of the window dressing of the newer versions of MS Office have so far motivated me to rebuy it. So many new features are designed for a particular set of users and go unused otherwise.

So now Microsoft has essentially bowed to customer demand and made the newest version of Office 2019 available as a one-time purchase. To be sure, the company will still be pushing hard for users to buy Office 365 and pay the SaaS fee every year, but at least now there is an option for customers who want to pay only once.

Microsoft uses the term “perpetual license” to describe the latest offering. I just hope that the company understands the dictionary definition of the word “perpetual.” More than once in the past I have had an issue with the definition of another word—“lifetime.” With some other companies—not Microsoft—I had the option of paying extra to get “lifetime” upgrades for the software I bought. Then a few years later, when I tried to upgrade, I was told to pay again and that my “lifetime” had expired. Frantically, I checked my pulse. The fact that my heart was still beating and my lifetime had not expired did not convince the company to honor my lifetime upgrade.

The information technology world is changing, even though the way I use my word processor and spell checker is not. The entire computer and mobile device software industry is pushing for SaaS. Companies would prefer that customers view all software the same way they view their cell phone bill, as a necessary household expense that you must pay for over and over, year after year. Alternatives still exist  for users who don’t want to subscribe to SaaS. Next week, more on this subject.

Charles Miller is a freelance computer consultant, a frequent visitor to San Miguel since 1981, and now practically a full-time resident. He may be contacted at 044 415 101 8528 or email FAQ8 (at)


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