Software Subscriptions Are Awful. For cars? Insane.

by | May 4, 2019

Today’s Rant by Joe Farace

Microsoft charges a monthly fee to use the latest Office software, which is why I’m happily using Office 2011. Adobe charges a monthly subscription fee to use Photoshop, which is why I’m happily using Photoshop CS6.

And now PetaPixel reports that Adobe Creative Cloud for Photoshop and Lightroom via the $10 per month Photography Plan, is now $20/month. According to PetaPixel, Adobe originally offered a $10/month Creative Cloud bundle of Photoshop and Lightroom in 2013 as a special limited time deal but the plan was so popular  Adobe continued offering it as a permanent option. But now instead of $10/month including 20GB of storage being the most affordable plan, the new $20/month plan includes 1TB of cloud storage.

According to Gizmodo, the $9.99/month option still appears for many users and if it doesn’t, PetaPixel  confirmed that it can still be purchased by calling Adobe’s sales team, using the  online chat to talk to a salesperson or by contacting an official Adobe reseller.

In the automobile world, Apple CarPlay is included on a $16,190 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 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 advertisers, LensPen, is Canadian, and Wells Fargo charged me five bucks when I deposit their check for an ad on this site.

(From Jalopnik) Earlier this year, BMW was widely called out for the pettiest of price gouging by charging owners $80 a year to use Apple CarPlay, a feature that is often included in infotainment packages on much cheaper cars elsewhere. To save some face, BMW has decided to not do that anymore.

UPDATE: According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median American worker annual income is $46,800, while the average photographer makes about $30,000 a year. The average Adobe employee makes $108,000 annually. Shantanu Narayen, Adobe’s CEO’s total compensation is $17.89 million. These facts are just something to think about when you pay your monthly Adobe subscription fee.

NEW UPDATE: It seems like I was not the only person who though subscriptions for cars was a bad idea. According to Automotive News:

The Access by BMW subscription pilot launched in April 2018 and never expanded beyond its initial Nashville market. It was targeted at affluent customers willing to pay high monthly fees for two tiers of service starting at $2,000.

“Our intent with the pilot was to learn about the viability of the subscription model and gauge customer interest,” a BMW spokesman told Automotive News Thursday. “We are in the process of developing the next iteration of the program,” he said, declining to elaborate on details.

Audi Select, a similar program offered by the Volkswagen Group premium brand, will be discontinued on Jan. 31, according to a notice on the service’s website. It was billed as a new interaction with Audi dealers when it was launched at five Dallas-Fort Worth stores in Sept. 2018.

Rival Mercedes-Benz ended a similar pilot last summer after seeing lackluster demand for the mobility model.