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New License Model: Changes to the way licensing, updates, and upgrades work

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1065 comments

  • Class A

    @BeO

    I agree. 50% off sounds like a bargain opportunity but one just has to make the 100% so uncompetitive that 50% off is still to expensive for what one gets. In my view Capture One has done just that.

    The functionality updates are not of interest to me and the unfixed bugs make it inadvisable to buy a licence with potentially very limited bug fixing support.

    2
  • J M Smith

    Pip

    Most of us have arrived at that conclusion.  We are all now just poking the dead body with a stick for the entertainment value.

    2
  • Carsten Schlipf

    Pip Just came back out of curiosity. But I haven't opened C1 since a couple of months as everything was migrated back to Lightroom in the meantime. 

    C1 will have to change a lot: feature-wise and business wise to get me back. However I am convinced they don't want me back as customer anyway. Good luck!

    1
  • FirstName LastName

    I have no problem about a company making profits. It’s a good thing for development.

    However, don’t listen to accountants who will convince you that the subscription model works. This model is the lazy way out of thinking creatively and is purely short term in nature.

    Take on Apples old marketing slogan “Think Different”.  You will make more money in the long run.

    Best wishes,

    G

    0
  • Chris

    It would be nice to get some sort of reaction now (half a year later) to this whole thing.

    - Is the management still sure about their direction?

    - what do they say about now nearly 1000 comments of former faithful CO users?

    - is it the percieved more money they hope to make really worth it? 

    - Did they really make more money with this move (or less)

    I see in the different forums, that the very positive tone CO had has dramatically changed to a more negative side. There are some, which say CO is still very good. But the voice of those, who see more negative with CO (managment, not so much the software itself) is there. This is really a change, that can be seen from anyone. But can the CO management it see also?

    Lots of questions. Will CO answer to this?

    Greetings,

    Christoph

     

    1
  • J M Smith

    Pip

    I also switched to LR/PS shortly after the licensing debacle announcement.  I knew I was not going to participate in the ludicrous licensing scheme so I reluctantly trialed then licensed Adobe LR/PS.

    I had hoped that LR would get me close the output that I was getting with C1P.  WOW was I ever shocked, LR is spectacular.  I wished I had switched back to Adobe much sooner.

    I have to thank the C1 management team for creating the "forcing function" that incentivized me to look at the competition again.

    I still have C1P loaded on my workstation, I just have too many legacy images developed in C1P.  Everyday I transition a few more "keepers" to LR and will be able to unload C1P at some point in the future.

    To your point, C1P feels clunky compared to LR, I honestly didn't expect that.

    1
  • Aoma Tani

    I was against the idea of a subscription (still am), but after the CO announcement, I went ahead and subscribed to LR. Works like a breeze, super fast and takes advantage of my M2 Pro chip. Honestly, I didn't expect LR to be this speedy (having come from LR 6. In comparison, CO is still somewhat laggy. After having used LR for so many years, I realised that trying to fit my workflow to CO is too much of a hassle and compromise. Many things add unnecessary steps and time for the way I process my photos. So I'm happy with my subscription, for now.

    1
  • J M Smith

    Chris

    I think the only reaction that you will see is incentives continuing to slowly creep into the narrative.  They are certainly not going to announce that they made a mistake.

    **************************************************************************

    I posted the following months ago after watching Paul Reiffer's interview with Rafael Orta.

    **************************************************************************

    I just watched Paul's Q&A with Rafael Orta.  That event strongly  reenforced my departure from COP...  Not to sound arrogant, but, I was a technology strategist and also consulted with companies on how to recognize and act upon disruptive technologies.  Based on the interview, CO needs serious help on both fronts. 

    The real telling part of the Q&A was Mr. Orta stated that there were ~250,000 COP users.  So let's make some assumptions in US$.

    1.  If every user updates every year at US$200 then CO's top line would be ~ US$50M.

    2. If the perpetual users (about half of the user base) upgrade every other year, then CO's top line will be about US$37.5M.

    3. CO is a tiny company and the only way that they can remain viable is to transition users to subscription only model. If half of the perpetual users leave and the other half move to subscription then their top line is still US$37.5M.  So they don't really care about losing a number of perpetual users.

    4. In all likelihood CO is being prepared for an exit, it will be interesting to see who the eventual owner happens to be.

    5. It is clear that they should not have wasted their time and precious resources on functionality such as pano stitching and HDR.  There are much better apps for that and COP will never be as good as they are.

    1
  • Chris

    I certainly hope, they have the view and the courage to admit, that they made a mistake.

    If not, well, we will see where CO will be in 3, 5 and 10 years from now.

    I don't hope, that the underwhelming updates and the lack of bugfixing is an indication where CO is heading.

    At the moment my current CO22 is sufficient with my Nikon Z9. But when I upgrade the camera, I really have to think hard. Perhaps I will do one further round with CO, as I expect Z9II next year and this is too early for such a decision. But afterwards all things are possible!

    1
  • Chris

    It is interesting to see the comments in the latest (today) CO23 review of dpreview (select "most popular" comments)

    This is what I mentioned above already: In all the photographic forums I read, the tone and attitude towards CO has changed dramatically from very positive

    (it really had an run to in the last many years, as old Adobe LR users got a new camera and did not want to go the LR subscription route). I think CO saw the growth of the last years and thought, it was because of how great CO was)

    to now a negative view of CO. I read a lot in forums - german and englisch speaking.

    1
  • Chris

    Yes, this is how it is working. At the moment I can not recommend C1 to anyone anymore and this is what you find also in the photographic forums...

    The problem is: The company does not see the effect now or in the last six month. But it will be a slow, but steadfest downgrade as the people get new cameras only every few years and then have to decide.

    3
  • e

    Since C1’s SNAFU, I unsubscribed from all their channels, deliberately cutting myself from their toxic marketing. I did the same with Adobe and camera makers also. And you know what? I am happily back to my needs. I’m using C1 22 for what I need it to do and am no more continuously bombarded with clickbait trying to make me believe I need this, that and more. When my work and thoughts evolve, so do my tools. It’s not the other way round. I don’t even need to switch to LR or whatever. I feel present with what is important for me: photography.

    Time will only tell how entire generations have probably been manipulated into the idea that gear and software make the photographer. I’ve just moved to a new work space and not one of my new office neighbors (architects) has yet came to talk photography with me. They all ask me what camera I use and if I know how to do this and that in Photoshop (that I don’t use).

    Etymologically, the word photography means « writing with light », not writing with Niknon, Cankon, CaptureRoom, LightNone or whatever someone is trying to sell you. Neither is better or worse. They are just tools. Only how people act towards other people is worth the discussion and obviously C1 has not treated their customers well and do not want to admit it. It’s their problem.

    My needs are to make pictures that touch people’s hearts. How I get there doesn’t matter much and my workflow will never depend on one tool, even less on one company and even less on one CEO whose days were already counted the first minute he entered the room.

    Just get back to your essential needs and you’ll be fine. Love.

    2
  • Michael Mazzola

    So. Here we are months later.  

    After installing DXO and re-engaging w/ LRC, I have not opened Captureone once. Don't think about it at all.

     

    1
  • J M Smith

    Michael Mazzola

    I still have C1P loaded, I open it on occasion to export a file.  (Of course around September 23rd updates will cease on my perpetual license and C1P will probably stop working with the next MacOS iteration so at that point I will reclaim that wasted SSD space).

    I went back to LR as well and haven't looked back (other than when a notification pops up about a post in this forum).

    I had hoped that the Serif Affinity products would be expanded to include a Raw Developer like C1P and LR, but that is not happening.  So in conjunction to moving back to LR, I also replaced Affinity Photo with PS...

    All is good...

    1
  • Carsten Schlipf

    And no response from C1 whatsoever. So let's accept the obvious: C1 does not want us as customers.

    1
  • J M Smith

    Carsten Schlipf

    I did the math and posted here several months ago based on a number of data points (there is apparently no way to search for the post). In essence there are about 250,000 C1P users (from an interview with Rafael Orta).  The percentage of perpetual users is greater than 50% (from a poll on Paul Reiffer's Facebook channel) , a good number of those only upgrade when new features warrant, about 50% (from another poll).  About 80% of new users go the subscription route (from a poll on Paul Reiffer's Facebook channel).

    Capture One Pro is a mature product (that is why we are seeing expensive add-ons such as mobile, live, and styles) so the user base is probably not growing significantly, the only way to to have a reasonable consistent revenue stream is to transition to a subscription model.  The consistent revenue stream is necessary when Axcel decides to exit CO.

    Perpetual users particularly those that only upgrade every two or three cycles are nothing more than distraction to Capture One.  I fully expect that in the future (probably near future) CO will drop the perpetual model entirely.  They can maintain their Top Line and grow their Bottom Line without have to deal with us pesky perpetual users, and eventually a number of perpetual users (particularly those that update every year) will transition to subscription.  So while the revenue from perpetual users is nice it is not critical to the success of CO and the perpetual model could be considered an existential threat to CO.

    From my perspective they a) did not keep up technologically, b) they priced themselves much higher than the competition, i.e., Adobe's Photography package (including LR, LR Classic, LR for iPad, and Photoshop, plus others), c) they have positioned the product to cater to primarily wedding and fashion photographers, and d) how they went about the perpetual to subscription model was a disaster. 

    I have long since switched back to LR and am very happy with it, I still have C1P loaded, I open it on occasion to export a file.  (Of course around September 23rd updates will cease on my perpetual license and C1P will probably stop working with the next MacOS iteration so at that point I will reclaim that wasted SSD space).

    1
  • BeO
    Top Commenter

    Perpetual users particularly those that only upgrade every two or three cycles are nothing more than distraction to Capture One.

    Why do you think they are a distraction? I doubt that they impose more work than those upgrading every year or subscribers, but account for probably around 20% of the revenue (roughly following your math). This percentage of revenue is not nothing; other companies do flips and twists to get 20% more revenue.

    And 20% of new users go the perpetual license route, according to that poll. This also is not nothing. But these numbers might not be very reliable. And decisions are sometimes biased and / or decision makers often follow their own agenda. We will have to wait until the future is the past, to see what happened.

    0
  • J M Smith

    BeO

    I didn't actually do the math in this post, the anaylis is fairly long.  If I can find my previous post where I actually did the analysis I will repost it.

    1.  Neither Axcel nor potential buyers when Axcel exits like inconsistent revenue streams, i.e., perpetual models (exit multiples will suffer).  Without referring back to my analysis I don't remember the exact number but it only takes a small number of perpetual licensees to convert to subscription and they are back to their baseline revenue.  Potential buyers would rather see a consistent revenue stream rather than a lumpy revenue stream and even better if a year or so after conversion that the revenue stream is equal to or great than before the conversion.  Remember, no one cares about the bottom line, it is all about revenue growth and strong EBITDA.  A perpetual model supports neither.

    2.  The code base slightly diverges.

    3.  The business model for both schemes diverges.

    4.  The support model diverges

    5.  I have no inside information but based on prior experience, I would expect the perpetual margins to be half the subscription margins.

    6.  I suspect in a year or so CO will completely cease the perpetual model.

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  • BeO
    Top Commenter

    In case you're right with point 6) I am not going to appear in their P&L again...:-)
    Cheers,
    BeO

    1
  • J M Smith

    BeO

    Hahahahahahaha

    Yeah just like Adobe did, they will probably at some point announce that Version xxx will be the last perpetual version...  I suspect once they get enough subscribers that is when they will terminate the perpetual model.

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  • John Harper

    I believe Capture One are feeling the pinch, sometime ago they offered me 6 months free subscription, no way known would I revert back.

    They have done nothing to upgrade to new features since this all started.

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  • Antonio Scribano

    the real problem is not the transition to the subscription system but the cost of it.

    for the cost of a C1P subscription you get 2 subscriptions of the ADOBE suite... and LIGTHROOM is rapidly improving more and more

    1
  • Edwardsson

    I’m still using C1. Even switched to a subscription since I get a 65% discount as a teacher. For my workflow, C1 works like a charm together with Affinity Photo.

    Without the discount, I would probably stay with C1 22, since the price should be too high for my needs to pay full price. 

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  • BeO
    Top Commenter

     

    Yeah just like Adobe did, they will probably at some point announce that Version xxx will be the last perpetual version...  I suspect once they get enough subscribers that is when they will terminate the perpetual model.

    Yes, but what about their 'promise' that you get a discount on a perpetual license after 5 years of subscription?

    Isn't it sad that so many customers, including me, think about the company that way? It has it roots in how they treated us in the recent years. 

    But I am still hoping their math will come to the conclusion to keep the perpetual license model even in many years time. That could be the only reason for them, being owned by private equity investors. The more people subscribe though the more unlikely this will be.

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  • J M Smith

    All of this drama because of botched messaging.

    Had CO simply said we cannot remain viable, long term, with a perpetual model.  We must transition to a subscription model so that we have a consistent revenue stream, where we can continue to develop products, that you have come to rely on.

    They then could have easily said that V23 support, other than bug fixes, will terminate one year from purchase.  Then they needed to offer a competitively priced subscription solution.

    They did none of this, so flight from their product(s) is their own fault... 

    2
  • Medea Pers

    I don't know what Capture One is doing, but its pricing is very strange. Subscription: One day it is 18,25 euros (month,billed yearly), than it is 15, (?) euros, yesterday it was 10, 44 and today 12,78. That does not sound very reliable. What will the price be if people buy it, and than the next year? 

    Regards, Roel. 

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  • J M Smith

    Pip

    The US pricing is $10.44, this reeks of desperation.  I suspect that their customer base didn't just accept the new pricing scheme, and a greater number of COP users than expected, moved on to other solutions.

    So sad, so sorry, hahahahahaha

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  • Wolfgang Stoiber

    That does not sound very reliable. What will the price be if people buy it, and than the next year?

    Yeah, discounts are always appreciated but as a professional you need reliability in the license costs for some years ahead. So you know you can safely invest your time to learn/master the software.

    I want to balance my expectations of "how much progress the software makes" with "the amount of money invested in that time"

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  • BeO
    Top Commenter

    The discount is for one year of subscription only, a marketing teaser.

    They want to have as many converts (from perpetual license to subscription) as possible. Perpetual license is still € 349,00.

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  • Wolfgang Stoiber

    So, realistically, you have to calculate the higher amount and take the discount as a one-off sweetener. As soon as you are in, there are no further discounts for you... (Black Friday Sales, pre-order, ...)

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