Most Perpetual Licenses of Prototyping Tools Are NOT Perpetual
One of the most thought-provoking trends we’ve witnessed in the prototype design market is that customers are paying more and more for one-shot deal. Increasing number of software developers and designers are moving away from annual billing or subscription toward perpetual license as their only approaches of tasting newly-emerged prototyping tools. Undoubtedly, there also has to be some financial reasons. So no matter what your preference is, examining the trend is worthwhile.
As a reminder, most so-called Perpetual Licenses in this market are actually false-perpetual. Specifically speaking, Perpetual License ought to be equal to the definition that you pay for the product once and you are free to use it forever. But the slogans in the marketing sites will never tell you the full story. For example, Axure RP as the leader of this industry, “axurely” only allows you to use Axure RP 8 and 8.x updates. That means further updates will cost extra fees. Justinmind, the second prevailing prototyping tool, also need you to pay $99 after the first year of buying their “Perpetual License”. What’s interesting is that if you have tried several of these prototyping tools, you will be shocked that little tricks like these seem to become a kind of common market phenomenon.
Last month, Mockplus shook things up by releasing its distinct version of Unlimited Perpetual License. According to the explanation,”Every user who purchases the "Unlimited Perpetual License" can enjoy all Mockplus Pro features for lifetime, with no expiration. Meanwhile, you can get all new versions and updates, be minor or major, without extra cost for the future upgrade or maintenance. Every user has 500MB of cloud storage space.”
This offer is unprecedented. Reading between the lines, it becomes very intriguing why Mockplus abandons the cake of extra charging. The answer is obvious: new companies need to break the old latent rules to win a place. That’s how we develop a healthy market. And at the same time, customers are learning to be more smart in the process choosing the best product.
Technically speaking, an overwhelming majority of prototyping tools (not just Axure or Justinmind) in the current market aren’t “sold outright”. You might never have noticed the term which is so long that people never read it when you click the “yes” for the legal agreement and buy the perpetual license in a few seconds. When you finally figure out that there exists some extra fees after several months or years, the customer loyalty and disinclination of adapting yourself to other prototyping tools have already made you a annual blood donor. Ironically, people who have been fooled by the little tricks at the very beginning will finally become vindicators of the tool so as to indicate that their choices are not mistakes.
I doubt very much that the old rule-makers can continue to maintain the current not-so-healthy market situation like this under the impact of the newcomers like Mockplus. Like it or not, the new tide is here to stay. Everyone is smart. As years go by, the old version will become less and less useful. As a matter of fact, I don’t really think I’m holding anything that can be called “perpetual” when further updates cost more