With the Next Version of Microsoft Windows, Say Goodbye To Your Windows PC As You Know It

NOTE: This article is not about genealogy but I suspect many Windows users will be interested in it. If you are looking for true genealogy-related articles, I suggest you skip this one.

Huge changes are coming from Microsoft. A new rumor is going around that claims Microsoft is switching from SELLING Windows to RENTING it instead. Some users think it will be an improvement while others believe it will be a major step backwards to computing in the way it was done in the 1970s when very expensive mainframes did all the computing and all data input and output by humans was done by using remote “dumb terminals.”

Microsoft is getting ready to replace Windows 10 with the Microsoft Managed Desktop. This will be a “desktop-as-a-service” (DaaS) offering. Instead of owning your own copy of Windows, you’ll “rent” Windows by the month. Microsoft already does this with Microsoft Office 365. Other companies, notably Adobe, also have software rental models, replacing the old concept of purchased software.

Microsoft Managed Desktop is a new take. You will no longer be in charge of your Windows PC. Instead, it will be automatically provisioned and patched for you by Microsoft. The “desktop-as-a-service” reportedly will allow a subscriber to lease a Windows 10 device that is automatically provisioned and kept up to date for a set monthly fee. An Internet connection will obviously be required although perhaps it only needs to be connected occasionally, not all the time.

Maybe you’ll be OK with that. However, given Microsoft’s history of numerous buggy updates and thousands of viruses developed over the years by hackers that take advantage of weaknesses in the Window operating system, I’m not sure I would trust Microsoft to keep my PC clean and tidy and free of viruses. Then there is the privacy issue: will Microsoft add spyware the way that Facebook does?

So far, there is no indication that this will be the only way Microsoft will offer Windows. It is possible that the company will offer two simultaneous version: Microsoft Managed Desktop and also a somewhat traditional form of Windows.

An article by Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols in ComputerWorld at http://bit.ly/2Aw1y02 states:

“Microsoft has been getting away from the old-style desktop model for years now. Just look at Office. Microsoft would much rather have you rent Office via Office 365 than buy Microsoft Office and use it for years. Microsoft Managed Desktop is the first move to replacing ‘your’ desktop with a rented desktop. By 2021, I expect the Managed Desktop to be to traditional Windows what Office 365 is to Office today: the wave of the future. Or maybe tsunami, depending on your perspective. I’m not happy with this development. I’m old enough to remember the PC revolution. We went from depending on mainframes and Unix boxes for computing power to having the real power on our desktops. It was liberating. Now Microsoft, which helped lead that revolution, is trying to return us to that old, centralized control model.”

Would you rather “own” your operating system or just lease it?

61 Comments

I’m comfortable with “renting” Office 365 although I wish I didn’t have all the updates and changes in it that often confuse me when I’m working on a project. Given a choice to update would work much better for me.
However, I don’t like the idea of “renting” the OS for sure. Can’t imagine that it would be all that private or secure.
I only hope my current system will keep on working for me as long as I need it. The way I feel just now, I’ll probably give in before Microsoft takes over!

Liked by 1 person

I like to own my own stuff, having found leasing not to be cost-effective in the long run. You pay and pay forever and the price keeps going up and up every time the lease renews. At some point you realize you’ve paid many times the price of outright ownership and that if you then decide not to renew, you may lose all access to your files, and in any event, will be unable to read the contents without access to the proprietary software you have been leasing. Privacy and security of confidential information and proprietary trade secrets are also a concern.

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Certainly hope this isn’t true…or at least that it won’t be the only option for a PC OS…I’d hate that.

Liked by 1 person

Microsoft can do whatever it wants. It won’t affect me. My Windows 3.1 computer will keep on running just as always, along with MS Office 4.3. Don’t need all the bloat they stuffed into all the later versions. And it’s all paid for.

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I will be done with MS the day I have to attach a subscription leech to my wallet. I really mean it. I refuse to pay a subscription for 365 and feel even more strongly about an OS subscription.

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Are they kidding! 😡 Lynx and Mac will do well from it. People like myself will just reload w7 on my computers…. or find a hack to stop 10 from updating! Has Microsoft thought about people that can not afford this? Also this should mean computers should become cheaper as you will not be paying for the operating system!??
I’m absolutely appalled by this idea Microsoft had come up with $$$$$$$$

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The rental OS is not compatible with an offline work process to get things done, many people go offline for months to work on projects. There are better operating systems out there with alternatives to Office 365. Being connected to see documents and images is not the way to go where access is dependent on monthly fees and being tied to uncontrollable big business.
Remember that George RR Martin writes the Game of Thrones books with Wordstar and DOS. A lot of the computer features are just gimmickry.

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Peggy Fleischmann July 31, 2018 at 1:38 am

Maybe time to switch to MAC. Or do they also “rent” their OS?

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    Apple doesn’t rent their operating system. In addition, there are many advantages to a Mac when compared to Windows. Just ask any Mac user. (This comment is being written on a Macintosh.)

    Then there are numerous other alternatives as well: multiple versions of Linux (which is free), UNIX, Chromebooks, the various free Chrome-like operating systems that will replace Windows on your present PC, and, of course, the newer portable devices running Android or Apple iOS (iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch).

    Unlike a few years ago, some versions of Linux are now easier to use than Windows.

    My personal choice would be to use a Chromebook or Chromebox or to replace Windows on a computer I already own with one of the free clones of the Chromebook operating system, such as: Chrome OS, CloudReady, Chromixium OS, Neverware, or something similar. See my earlier article at https://blog.eogn.com/2015/10/19/convert-your-old-windows-or-macintosh-computer-into-a-chromebook-clone/ for more information about Chrome operatimg systems.

    There is no need to be locked into Windows or any other single operating system. You can use whatever suits your needs best.

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Keep in mind all those who are less fortunate. Whatever the financial hardship, whether it being age-related (senior citizen), being disabled or with some other medical situation, or just not having a well paid job, needing to pay monthly is one additional burden on an already overloaded life. Computers are no longer a luxury, but a necessity. Students need it to do their schoolwork on, patients and doctors correspond, and even seniors use it to stay active and in contact with their families and friends. Facebook has become the norm for communication. Not to be political, but a different administration in Washington could prevent this from occurring. It wouldn’t surprise me if Elizabeth Warren or others stepped in to do something before this happens.

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    Another thought — This will go over like a lead balloon in a lot of rural areas that are still operating on 20th Century copper cable phone systems with no access to broadband connections and only spotty mobile phone and wifi signals.

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There are many alternatives to a Windows operating system, I can think of at least 10. You can install as many OS as you want to install on your computer. I use as much Open source software as I can so it would not be a deal breaker to look elsewhere for an OS.

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This sounds almost Dystopian!

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Several potential problems with that O/S model: Firstly, many companies have in-house training for using their tools on Windows (or other O/S), and it’s a huge upheaval when they have to produce new courses and new training material if they decide to upgrade Windows (or are forced to). Imagine, though, if you didn’t know when it would change — the next logon producing a different interface. Secondly, not all S/W is produced by Microsoft, and an O/S upgrade often reveals incompatibilities requiring the original provider to issue updated S/W releases. Again, this could be a show-stopper if you logon one morning to find that the new O/S has changed an API or deprecated a class, etc., and your essential tools no longer work. Thirdly, Microsoft has a dreadful history of replacing their own software with something that sounds the same but isn’t. Remember their different messenger products — NetMeeting, MSN Messenger, Windows Live Messenger, and now Skype (which has already split into incompatible releases) — or their different email systems — Outlook, Outlook Express, Windows Mail, Windows Live Mail, and now just Mail? What next?

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Yeah… like Rent-to-Own, meaning you pay and pay and pay and pay for the item many times over. Thanks but no thanks to making Microsoft richer than they already are. I’d rather pay once to own the software and install it myself…, like the lovely Office Professional 2000 that is still the best OS I’ve worked with simply because I had so many added programs, a couple of which worked beautifully for restoring genealogy photos and making photos from negatives, or being able to make my own genealogy logos and other graphics, etc., which came as bundled software with different scanners and the printer and the Wacom tablet. (Or are they more accurately Apps? – I still don’t have a clear idea what an App really is.)
If I can’t own the OS outright when I pay for it once, I don’t want it.

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I manage a system, of which I was the architect, which has done away with PCs and uses Windows Remote Desktop Services and zero clients. I can access a remote desktop on virtually any device. Citrix is similar tech but more sophisticated. The technology is not new, just the application of the subscription model. I would welcome something similar to the current OneDrive, where I have a free, massively cut down version of office and storage for when I REALLY need MS Office (not often I must add!). If I want more, then I have to pay the O365 subscription.

My personal systems are all Linux, or iOS or Android, but no Windows 🙂

If you have issues with O365 (as I do), use Libre Office. I run it on Linux, but have it installed at work on Windows 7 & 10. No mobile capability yet, but save docs in MS Office format, and Google will open them on mobile devices. The only thing I can’t do with Libre Office is very complex pivot tables, which Excel will handle with ease.

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The problem with Office 365 is that Word and Excel are missing key editing features that I frequently use (I don’t know about Power Point et al since I rarely use them). When I contacted Microsoft for help on finding the editing features in 365, I was told the features are only available in the desktop versions. I’m guessing Microsoft will continue to to offer a desktop version.

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Refuse to pay monthly fees for Office, still have it installed on my computer. Definitely not renting the OS.

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I don’t like the idea and hope it isn’t true.

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I like to buy a car and drive it for 13 years; same with my computer. (Well, not 13 years.) This model is having an effect on libraries, too. You used to be able to buy content (for example, New York Times on microfilm,). Now this is subscription-based. While some have value-added service (like Proquest Historical Newspapers), when the budget is lean or the director would rather have more ebooks, patrons lose access altogether. Ebooks are the same. Will you be able to find today’s quirky novel ten years from now in your library? Maybe not, because it was an ebook and has expired.

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    The physical copy of the quirky novel probably won’t be on the shelf in ten years, either. Libraries only have so much space on the shelves, so they weed out older materials to make room for newer stuff.

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It sounds like money and privacy will fly out the window hand in hand. Does this mean we can’t have our own antivirus / anti-malware programs on our own devices as well?

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Maybe this will affect offices more than individuals. I use a very old version of Word that still works. All I need is that, nothing fancy. I will buy software, but no way will I rent it – a friend recently had an update to 365 wipe out a week’s work (though I had told her to keep a copy of that document elsewhere than online.) The point is, regular users just write emails and short documents, and we don’t need or want to rent a product. But I refer back to the first part of this post.

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If Microsoft goes the “renting” direction, how does that affect Mac users who also have a Microsoft for Mac package installed?

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    I have a an Office for Mac suite. It works fine. Besides, as a person rather than a company, I can and do use LibreOffice to save in Office format. Apple gives you Pages, Numbers and Keynote, all of which will save to office format.

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L I N U X

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It sounds to me to be an excellent opportunity for alternatives like Linux Mint or TrueOS to become real competitors for the desktop.

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Could it be time for me to switch to a Mac?
I chose not to rent Office when I bought my last computer, but it sounds like purchasing it is no longer an option. I’m getting ready to upgrade my laptop, but the software hassle is giving me pause. Renting the OS? Horrors!

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Hey, look at the bright side. Theres always Macintosh!

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For some people on fixed incomes already stretched thin this could be hard.

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This is good incentive to keep my current laptop which runs Windows 8 for several more years. And buying a Mac next time.

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IMHO, it’s the right direction to go for both users and Microsoft. Of course, there are some minefields to get through, but technology moves on. Many users would be grateful to not have to worry about updating software, and MS would have less maintenance to support those users. To be sure, there may well be a rocky road between now and then, but I hope they succeed.

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Had Office 365 and it was a pain to renew. Have the purchased Office on our other computer and much easier and cleaner.
We do not want to “rent” Windows.

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I currently lease the entire suite of Adobe CC products and have been more than satisfied. I also participate in the Office 365 plan. I like the idea of always having the latest version of software and both companies, so far, have provided a very pleasant and cost effective experience.

I’m not sure exactly how Windows will work as SAAS. Sounds like I need to do a little more research. I will say that Windows 10, in my opinion, is Microsoft’s best OS to date. And I’ve certainly liked the regular feature updates.

If things should go downhill, there’s always Linux, which gets better with each update.

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I’ve been happy with Windows 10; not a problem since day 1. I’ll wait it out when and if they start leasing. Although I have many programs on my Windows PC, I rarely use it – mostly for adding information to my tree on Family Tree Maker. A Chromebook is my main device. I have tablets and a smart phone, but hate the small screens.

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Shades of cable TV. Everyone was so thrilled to be getting cable. I told everyone the price would keep going up and up and that’s exactly what it has done. I’ve hesitated buying a Mac because I’m so used to Windows and because of the price but it will be worth it to purchase the Mac rather than rent Windows. NEVER!!!!!

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    I have a MacBook Pro laptop, and can run 10.7 to 10.13 on it, plus various flavors of Linux. My needs are simple.

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BAD IDEA. Think back over the number of printers, scanners, and other devices that we have had to replace with major windows upgrades because they no longer worked with the new version. Also think of the number of times key software we use daily stopped working until the vendor got around to providing upgrades to allow them to operate with the new windows version (if they ever did). In fact, think about the computers. I have a high end desktop that was bought not long before windows 10 came out. It is a national brand. Windows 10 will not install on it because of a bios incompatibility issue which the computer maker has refused to fix (their model released months after I bought mine is compatible). For those of us using TMG this could be the end and cause years of re-working data to fit into another program that might also stop working with a forced update. It is one thing to have Adobe subscription (I do) but quite another to have an operating system that must interface with every other component of both software and hardware being changed at the whim of the maker (Microsoft) who has a history of changes that scramble other maker’s products.
TC

Liked by 1 person

    Our views are aligned, TC (see above). Thinking on your point about devices, I’m not sure how DaaS can handle the myriad devices that users currently have. I’m sure MS have a “solution”, but I’m not aware what form it takes.

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I’m okay with Office 365. But not thrilled with the idea of having to PAY for an operating system. I can see the advantages in that the system would be up-to-date at all times BUT what if you were scheduled to be away from your home office for several months. What happens to your files? What happens if you hate it? Can those be switched to a Mac?

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For those who are thinking of switching from Windows to some other operating system, either now or in the future, you might want to see the new ad for Chromebooks that has just been released by Google. Look at: https://youtu.be/2xryaZF1Z4w

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If it appease to work for Microsoft, Apple will follow fr Macs and cell phones.

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Due to security issues, not to mention cost, I got off the Microsoft train a while back … except for genealogy. I was not willing to change from Legacy Family Tree and some ancient Windows programs I use to produce my web site’s content. What to do? This was my solution:

– install Linux as my operating system (free). Keep all data files there.
– install VirtualBox (free) to allow me to run other OS’s virtually at same time.
– install Win7, for which my laptop has a license, in VirtualBox.

If you configure it correctly, your guest operating system (in my example above, Win7), can have access to all files on your host OS (Linux). You can also copy/paste and drag/drop from what’s running on Linux to what’s running on Win7, and vice-versa. Win7 never needs to go on the internet, so no security issues on that end.

My laptop monitor shows the Linux desktop, where I run my browser with tabs open to Ancestry, familysearch, etc. My secondary monitor shows the Win7 desktop, where I have Legacy Family Tree and perhaps other programs open. Copy, paste, drag and drop as needed. Problem solved, at least as long as I have hardware that will run Win7 (or even XP, as all my Windows programs are so old they work on XP as well).

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I don’t want to have to “Rent” software. I don’t even like the one’s like “McAfee” that you buy but have to buy again ever year to keep it working.. When I buy something I want it to be mine, not disappear if I fail to make an installment payment on a rented version. I don’t upgrade with every version, I use it till it doens’t work anymore.

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For 1 more $ per month your get full DirectX 12.1 support.
And if you want to have more than 5 applications open at the same time, you will need the advanced subscription.
You can also book the no-telemetry-package for lower latency on your system for an additional fee.

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I tried Office 365 for one year after I purchased a MS Surface. I bought Office and loaded it onto my Surface. I only had to pay once and have used it for 3 years.
I do NOT want to rent again!

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Sucks, big time! For those of retired persons who must budget closely, this is just another form of extortion. First, I had to “rent” Quicken. Then MS Office 365… hopefully Apple will not go this route as I will switch as soon as MS tells me I have to rent Windows.

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    I know the retirement situation all too well, and I dropped Quicken for that very reason. Quite content using just the bank’s statements online and other options their on-site portal offers. If Windows goes the same route as Quicken I’ll bite the bullet and explore other options there, also. Windows 10 almost pushed me over the edge anyway.

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Dick,
Please keep us updated on this piece of repulsive robber-baron-ry.
And please tell us when, where, and how to protest to Microsoft and anyone else who has influence!
Thanks.

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Windows 7 on my desktop and Windows 10 in my laptop – much prefer Windows 7. Main use for the cloud is to back all that up.
I give Google/Chrome as little information about myself as possible, trust MS a bit more but still don’t want them holding ALL of my stuff.

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I live in Australia. Some years ago the Government decided that they wanted to run the internet services, hence the National Broadband Network (NBN). You can have your choice of providers, but they all have to use the NBN – oh, and you loose your discrete landline telephone as well. It runs through the router for your NBN. I lost my service for two months last year – no internet, no phone and LOTS of headache tablets. It goes down every night for about an hour at 6 pm. Public holidays? Forget it. All those times are when I tidy up my genealogy. Write a few chapters for a book. Type a letter or two to mail to my grandkids (they get such a kick out of REAL mail). Edit and scan a few photos and print them out. NONE of that will be possible if I can only access Word, WIndows Photo, etc on the Internet. Because I won’t have access.
NOT LIKE !!!!!

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Microsoft may prevent you from using their softeare that is old or any softeare THEY deem to be illegal even though it is real. Big brother for sure.

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ReactOS / Greentea OS
“ReactOS is a free and open-source operating system for x86/x64 personal computers intended to be binary-compatible with computer programs and device drivers made for Windows Server 2003 and later versions.”
https://www.reactos.org/
https://greenteaos.github.io/

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Well, there’s always apple.

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Dick, I know you rarely engage with commenters but having read your latest post (re: h/w costs) in conjunction with this one, I’m surprised that you haven’t mentioned that s/w costs have *not* decreased. In other words, the overriding factor now is not the price of a new computer/laptop/other but the licence costs for, say, a copy of Windows, a copy of Office Professional, your favourite photo-editing s/w, your favourite genealogical tools, etc. What’s your perspective on this?

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    —> What’s your perspective on this?

    I disagree. To be sure, the “heavy duty” programs haven’t changed much. Microsoft Office, the various Adobe products, and dozens of other programs still cost outrageous amounts of money. I usually don’t buy those products.

    However, there are many more free software programs today than there were ten or fifteen years ago.

    In contrast, many other programs, including genealogy programs, are cheaper than they used to be. At one time (before Windows became popular), the leading genealogy program of the time was Roots-3, an MS-DOS program. It sold for $250 and that by itself didn’t even have the capability to add text notes, to import or export GEDCOM files, it it could not store digital pictures or videos. It also could not print fancy charts and especially not wall charts. Modules to add text notes or GEDCOM capabilities were extra-cost for $50 or $60 dollars each.

    Purchasing Roots-3 plus all the optional add-on packages cost about $400. And, yes, I paid $400 for the entire collection of Roots-3 plus the optional add-on programs. Then, every year or two, I paid even more money for the newly updated versions.

    Today, we have a variety of genealogy programs to choose from that are much, much better than Roots-3 and they typically cost $25 or $30 each. A very few might cost $50. A few of them are available FREE of charge. All of them include capabilities we didn’t dream of years ago.

    That’s just genealogy. In addition, a good program to read and write email messages, such as Eudora, used to cost $20 or $30. Today, we have FREE Gmail, Yahoo Mail, and more.

    Today we have competent FREE word processors and spreadsheet programs, such as LibreOffice and several others. I like the FREE LibreOffice better than I do the expensive Microsoft Office. I have both installed in the computer I am using at this moment but I use LibreOffice for all my writing chores. I haven’t clicked on the Microsoft Office icon in a long, long time.

    We used to pay $200 to $400 for a disk drive capable of storing a few megabytes of data. Today, we have several cloud-based storage services that give us more storage than that FREE of charge.

    And so on and on. In short, when comparing today’s software expenses, I see a mixed bag. Some things are as expensive as ever but many other things are cheaper, often even free.

    Liked by 1 person

    My main issues are with Microsoft products, including Office (which I find essential, possibly because of my Word content) and different versions of the O/S when forced onto the “upgrade treadmill”. Proprietary developer tools have also remained unchanged. In other words, getting a refurbished laptop is easy, but getting it populated with the required software components will still cost you more. That said, I still prefer this route to the pay-as-you-go model for the reasons I gave a few days ago.

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Microsoft has no intention of leasing Windows software to the general public. The program referred to in this article is for commercial enterprises and includes the desktop hardware thereby allowing IT departments to concentrate on what’s important to their organizations. For a full explanation see:
https://www.howtogeek.com/360938/no-microsoft-isnt-turning-windows-10-into-a-paid-subscription-service/

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