Software Subscriptions Are Awful. For cars? Insane.

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

Adobe charges a monthly subscription fee to use Photoshop, which is why I’m happily using Photoshop CS6. Microsoft charges a monthly fee to use the latest Office software, which is why I’m happily using Office 2011. In the automobile world, Apple CarPlay is included on a $17,000 Honda Fit and many manufacturers offer CarPlay into their vehicles as standard equipment these days—it was an inexpensive option on Mary’s company-owned Ford Escape.

Since BMW began offering CarPlay on cars in 2017, The Verge reports that it’s been a one-time $300 charge. But that may change. BMW North America’s technology product manager Don Smith told The Verge that CarPlay will cost owners $80 a year.

The apparent reason behind that is $80 annually will be cheaper for people who lease the cars than buying it. Smith said, “This allows the customer to switch devices. A lot of people buy [CarPlay] and think it’s okay, but sometimes they stop using it or switch to Android.” Smith said the new plan would be free for the first year of ownership but after that, owners must pay $80 per year to keep it. The Verge reports that BMW doesn’t offer the Android equivalent to CarPlay, Android Auto, so I’m guessing that whole switching platforms analogy was just, as they say, smoke.

And so it seems that every greedy corporation that offers products and services will nickel and dime you to death at every opportunity. My bank, Wells Fargo, charges a fee if you make more than four withdrawals a month from your savings account. When I did that the first and only time, I was charged a fee and called the bank yelling at them saying, “what’s next charging for deposits?” And yes it’s true. One of our former advertisers, LensPen, is Canadian, and Wells Fargo charged me five bucks when I deposit their check for an ad on this site.

The crap has to stop.