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Are we on a sinking ship?

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67 comments

  • Jack W
    Admin

    Probably more beneficial to just post a link to the article, especially as it contains some misinformation.

    We are not moving to a subscription only policy and we have not announced anything of the sort.

    Even the "story" that PetaPixel link to, starts with the line "Capture One is changing how the perpetual license of its software will work." which is vastly different to us announcing a "subscription only model" – PetaPixel have been reminded of this time and again.

    You guys in here are free to speak as you want with regards to anything else, but just thought I would make that crystal clear.

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  • Walter Rowe
    Moderator
    Top Commenter

    PetaPixel is click bait. They sensationalize headlines and often have inaccurate facts. Many of the article authors there are not professional journalists but people who want to see their name next to a headline. Anyone can publish an article on PetaPixel.

    Every company goes through painful reorganization from time to time. Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Tesla, Apple, Adobe, pick a name. They all had laid offs in the last 12-18 months. EU labor laws are quite protective of employees. I imagine those impacted by layoffs at Capture One were well taken care of.

    Companies change direction and sometimes the people in certain areas are not suited well to the new direction. Sadly they must be let go to allow the company to pivot to where they need to go. Let's give credit to Capture One for waiting until after the holiday season to do so. We want Capture One to be a strong company that provides a solid product. These decisions can be hard but are sometimes necessary to achieve that goal.

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  • Robert Hold

    Given what you guys may feel about PetaPixel, there hasn't been clear communication regarding legay/perpetual license holders and what the roadmap is for us to see updates to the software. I'm looking at upgrading my camera equipment this year to a Fuji GFX100II and I want to be certain that the version of C1P I am running will support it (currently 16.2.x). If I end up having to upgrade to 16.3... what is the mechanism to do so?

    As it stands, it feels as though perpetual license holders are being left behind in favor of a subscription model being pushed.

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  • SFA
    Top Commenter

    Strange.

    Just over a year ago there were similar questions about Adobe.

    I knew nothing about that until this thread prompted me to run a search.

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  • SFA
    Top Commenter

    Robert,

    "As it stands, it feels as though perpetual license holders are being left behind in favor of a subscription model being pushed."

    I would have to agree that it's not something I welcome. 

    However the fiscal side of it, depemnding on how you play it, is not necessarily as negative as it seems at first.

    And as one must observe, the strategy seems to have worked in Adobe's favour and been copied by nearly all large softwear creators and vendors in one form or another in the past few years. 

     

    The world does not yet seem to be condemning all of the them to the scrap heap. One must therefore conclude that the majority of users will, ultimately, go along with the concept of renting software as one uses it.

    People do it for housing, cars, other major purchases and even their mobile phone and home entertainment services. And they do it willingly with much greater total outlay than one might expect.

    It seems like a strange world to me but many seem happy with it  - even those that have realised what they are doing.

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  • OddS.

    > SFA: ...the strategy seems to have worked in Adobe's favour

    Capture One sold licenses to Adobe refugees who believed C1 to be their sanctuary.

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  • Frank Lindner

    I don't understand the whole discussion about the licence model. Nobody is forced to take out a subscription and can buy the software. But I can't expect a purchased version to be developed further for years without paying anything for it. As long as my purchased version harmonises with the operating system everything is fine, if not I just have to see how the problem can be solved, it's always been like that. If I wanted to stay up to date, I had to buy a new version in the past, which was sometimes more expensive, depending on the frequency. Capture One is a good programme and I really wouldn't want to be without it. Keep your fingers crossed for CO that everything will be fine and that the users will understand. I am a private user, I am not sponsored or anything else. Have a nice day!

    3
  • Thomas Kyhn
    Top Commenter

    " As long as my purchased version harmonises with the operating system everything is fine, if not I just have to see how the problem can be solved, it's always been like that. If I wanted to stay up to date, I had to buy a new version in the past, which was sometimes more expensive, depending on the frequency."

    It's always been like that except a perpetual license used to include all incremental updates until a new major version was released, i.e. you did not have to buy incremental updates in the past.

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  • SFA
    Top Commenter

    OddS.

    "> SFA: ...the strategy seems to have worked in Adobe's favour

    Capture One sold licenses to Adobe refugees who believed C1 to be their sanctuary."

    True enough.

    But once Adobe got most of the old crowd past that and captivated the new people with models intended to ensnare the generations who had always had mobile phones in their images of life, the strategy seemed to do very well for them. It took a few years and they faced the predicted drop in revenues from License sales until the cash flow of subscriptions took over. However, recent years of results suggest that it was short-term pain for long term gain. 

    It seems to have become a popular approach for the big players in recent times.

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  • SFA
    Top Commenter

    Consider this.

    Anyone who buys a subscription, for anything, is looking to the future and assuming they will keep paying for the service until they stop and elect to do something else. Or nothing. Or subscribe to multiple similar services.

    Anyone who buys a perpetual license is, whether they think of it this way or not, planning for the point at which they stop. There is no guarantee that they will make another purchase, though they might.

    Which class of user offer the most likely stream of income in the future at a cash flow that allows a business to operate, develop and deliver with any degree of consistency?

    One could perhaps, pad out the user generated revenue with sponsorship support from manufacturers, but maybe only for a short period during which that idea appeals to the manufacturer's Marketing teams in some way.

    Then what?

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  • John Friend
    Top Commenter

    Frank Lindner -  As long as my purchased version harmonises with the operating system everything is fine

    But if you bought a perpetual license to v16.2 which you planned to use for at least a year, then in a mere few months from purchase, your version would no longer work with the latest version of MacOS.  Furthermore, you would not be entitled to any updates beyond 16.2.x, because Capture One delivered the fix for MacOS in 16.3.x which you are not entitled to.

    Is that reasonable?

    2
  • Frank Lindner

    John Friend 

    Why is it not possible to upgrade from 16.2 to 16.3? I had such a case from 16.1 to 16.2, the support immediately answered my question at that time and told me that it was not a problem within the period, at that time 9 months since purchase, and this was true. If Apple, and I am also one of the users, changes its programme logic and software remains unworkable as a result, I don't think it's right to pass the responsibility on to the small companies. But everyone should decide for themselves. Personally, I just realise that companies cannot exist without ongoing revenue. Best regards!

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  • John Friend
    Top Commenter

    Frank Lindner - Why is it not possible to upgrade from 16.2 to 16.3?

    Because that is Capture One's policy for perpetual licenses.  If you just bought 16.2 and three months later, it no longer works with the latest version of MacOS, you are not entitled to 16.3.  If you want it, you have to buy an entirely NEW perpetual license.

    2
  • Walter Rowe
    Moderator
    Top Commenter

    You are leaving out the Loyalty Program details. You DON'T pay the FULL price again unless your license is more than 24 months old.

    Perpetual licenses newer than 12 months get 40% discount on upgrades.
    Perpetual licenses 12 to 24 months get 20% discount on upgrades.

    https://support.captureone.com/hc/en-us/articles/8824180384285-Capture-One-Loyalty-Program

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  • John Friend
    Top Commenter

    Walter Rowe - Yes, you can use the loyalty program to purchase at a discount in the scenario mentioned.  You still have to buy something probably for over $150 just to get bugs fixed in something you bought only a few months ago. 

    And our favorite loyalty program offers about the same price as the regular perpetual license sales we see on B&H and Adorama which is how anyone should buy their perpetual license (on sale).  The 20% "loyalty" discount for the 12-24 time period is a sham that only the uneducated fall for.  That's more than the regular sales price.

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  • Walter Rowe
    Moderator
    Top Commenter

    Not entirely true John. Version 16.3 is now at 16.3.4 which means four FREE updates have been released.

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  • John Friend
    Top Commenter

    Walter Rowe - If you buy 16.3 NOW, you will probably not get very many more updates.  If you bought a perpetual license to 16.2 in October and were on a Mac, you would be quite unhappy right now (OS incompatibility issues). 

    Capture One's policy for perpetual licenses does NOT guarantee you get all updates for some period of time from your purchase (that's probably how it SHOULD work, but it doesn't).  So, if you buy shortly before a new major release comes out (which we have no idea of the timing for), you could get screwed and get almost no updates.  IMO, a perpetual license should come with at least 6 months of bug fixes and OS compatibility releases.  Now, it comes with somewhere between 0 months and 4 months of bug fixes, depending upon exactly where you bought in the release cycle and how soon they switch to the next major release (that you are not entitled to).

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  • Robert Hold

    WalterRowe I have been a user for around a decade. I have had no issues with upgrading to each and every major release. Incremental releases were expected, lauded, and appreciated to keep my workflow going with every little update to my computer (pc and mac). 

    The frustration comes in for me seeing that as a user who has been with Capture One for a DECADE, I have to pay for an INCREMENTAL UPDATE when the prior model had me paying for a full version update (6.x to 7.x to 8.x, and so on). This current licensing model that has been taken up is, in place of other language, significantly distasteful.

    1
  • Walter Rowe
    Moderator
    Top Commenter

    I completely understand this. As an IT professional since the early 1980s I agree that .X is traditionally a "minor" release and a X. release is traditionally a major release. It seems Capture One has broken with that paradigm where .X is viewed be a major release for them, and .X.X viewed as a minor release. Confusing? Absolutely.

    1
  • John Friend
    Top Commenter

    Robert Hold - But, ALL releases now are essentially incremental updates.  Some have more new features than others.  That's their model now.  It is completely non-controversial for their subscription customers since they could care less what the version numbers are - they get every single new release for the duration of their subscription.  Of course, the moment they stop paying their subscription, they lose the use of Capture One for editing, even for editing their existing library.

    The versioning system and rights to upgrades is a mess for their perpetual license customers and it appears they don't care.  If you don't like it, they want you to take out a subscription - end of discussion.  Right now, as a perpetual license customer you are only entitled to point release increments in the last digit so in X.Y.Z, you only get releases when X and Y stay the same and Z changes, but not when X or Y changes.  That's their policy. 

    If you buy a new perpetual license when 16.3.4 is the current version and three days later 16.4.0 comes out, you're out of luck, you get no more new releases - no matter how many bugs there are in the release you just bought.  If you buy a new perpetual license when 16.4.0 has just been released, then you'll get several new updates releases for 16.4.1, 16.4.2, 16.4.3 over the ensuing months.  Once 16.5.0 ships, you're done.

    FYI, if you want the equivalent of your 7.x major update, then just skip a whole bunch of incremental upgrades and buy a new license when you feel like enough new features have been added to justify buying a new license - don't rely on their version numbering to tell you when that is - use your own perception of value.  And, if you buy it on sale (currently on sale for $179 at B&H), you may even end up paying less than subscription customers (depending upon how often you upgrade).  But, and here's the big but, you don't get very many bug fix releases.  So, you're kind of rolling the dice that either the version you bought is solid enough for you to do your work or that one of the minor releases you are entitled to will fix what you need fixing.  If more than a few months go by and they haven't fixed a bug that's important to you, you are then just out of luck.

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  • Thomas Kyhn
    Top Commenter

    Now that major versions are a thing of the past, will all future updates be incremental updates to version 16?

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  • Ian Wilson
    Moderator
    Top Commenter

    Yes, it will go on and on until we reach 16.99.99!

    Seriously, who knows?

    Ian

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  • Thomas Kyhn
    Top Commenter

    I know, no one outside the company would know the answer to that. I'm just curious how they're planning to go about this as one of the consequences of abandoning major version updates seems to be that we'll be stuck with version 16 permanently.

    Thomas

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  • Ian Wilson
    Moderator
    Top Commenter

    My guess is that there will be a version 17 at some stage, maybe if there's a really major update, but I have absolutely no inside information.

    Ian

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  • Walter Rowe
    Moderator
    Top Commenter

    John Friend said

    Of course, the moment they stop paying their subscription, they lose the use of Capture One for editing, even for editing their existing library.

    This is false and misleading. You can convert a subscription to a persistent license. For each year you subscribe you get 20% MORE discount on persistent license. After 5 years you can convert to a persistent license for free at any point in the future.

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  • SFA
    Top Commenter

    Affinity ran with the same version number for their product family for about 4 years after they added Windows to the Mac product re-work of their previous products and completed most of the work to bring the rest of the modules in their Photoshop competitor suite of programs to the same level.

    The only difference was that they offered free updates for the same period under the same version's primary number.

    I would imagine that the fiscal justification was based on having a new income stream from sales to Mac users. Their previous offering was Windows only.

    I could see potential for serious changes, perhaps requiring a version number change for technical reasons, being driven by outside influences. Perhaps changes to MacOS or Windows or a significant change of underlying database technology.

    Beyond that, a marketing driven change might be brought about by certain developments related to new or ended business relationships, a big play on AI (or something similar), or an entirely new companion product that might take development in a different direction.

    The need to change versions annually probably declines once a subscription model is established. If, at the same time, the seemingly enforced updates, related to new releases of platform OS features, has become less of an influence as the major changes have matured, there may be a period during which it looks frankly suspicious to be changing version numbers simply based on annual cycles.

    Unfortunately, if the .X. equivalent of an annual new version suddenly becomes more of a 6 monthly cycle rather than a year (or more) the move may look equally suspicious. 

    My guess is that the dynamics of purchasing perpetual licenses will evolve as a pattern of updates emerges and customers who are prepared to play the "cost effectiveness" game spot the pattern and adapt accordingly.

    Similar things happen (or maybe these days that should be 'happened' as most software suppliers seem to be using a subscription model) in B2B markets when vendors locked themselves into annual cycles of results reporting.

    For example the drive to make the end of year figures look good would often result in 'doing deals' to close business around the year end. In the case where the normal situation was for all biusinesses to have the same 'year end' it became an annual challenge.

    In tax jurisdictions where 'year end' could be staggered, as in the UK, business might have 2 periods each annual business cycle in which to "do deals". Their own year-end reporting cut-off date and the most common date traditionally used by clients - typically the first week in April. 

    A company I worked for moved its year-end to September, partly because it spread the accounting workload and partly because the Auditors offered lower charges because their workload was spread out.

    Once existing customers recognised how things worked, 95% of deals were agreed in September (related to the business year end) or March/April (related to the traditional year end aligned with the Tax Year in the UK). 

    We also had some International sales that tended to close in December (end of tax year, using budget from the previous period) or January (drawing from the new budget for the new tax year).

    It was, sometimes, fun to play the game of "buy the new order" 3 times each year but, ultimately, probably not the best way to create a stable business able to support customers in the long term.

    In the case of C1 the "Annual" version number change seems to be morphing into a "guess when the next .X. release will be " game. It may be the same thing with different notation, i.e. the .X. exists for a year before moving up. Or the number change frequency used for the past decade or so may apply - so about 3 .X. changes each year. So far we don't have enough history for use of the new approach to make a logical assessment. However we can, and of course do, speculate. 

     

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  • John Friend
    Top Commenter

    Walter Rowe - Yes, I forgot about the conversion to perpetual license - sorry about that. 

    This, of course, assumes that perpetual licenses are still available at the time you want to do such a conversion.  With the kinds of perpetual license-unfriendly decisions Capture One has been making in the last couple years, it's unclear whether you can trust that perpetual licenses will remain available far into the future.

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  • Jim Schaub

    My first concern is the software. The capabilities of the software. Is it better or is it not? Today I was informed that the iPhone sync beta program has been frozen for "now". This is not something I wanted to learn.

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  • Jerry C

    I think the analogy of the specter of the sinking Capture One ship is not entirely on target for some of us. My version of Capture One (16.3...) works just fine. Having delivered software I could easily use for many years without any new improvements, if the ship sinks, it does so after it delivered what I need. If I need compatibility with a new RAW format or lens, then I will need to find a company with a ship that still sails.

    To be clear, I shoot landscapes, wild life, architecture, and street scenes. I run Capture One on a well outfitted Mac Studio Ultra. I am an advanced amateur. I rarely sell a  picture. With AI able to produce/forge images from a description of their content, my interest is in recording scenes I actually see.

    My attitude does not make me indifferent to improvements, or bug fixes, but  folks like me do not support the kind of reliable revenue stream Capture One needs, hence their embrace of subscriptions. 

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  • John Friend
    Top Commenter

    Jerry C - There are a couple points you might want to think about in relation to the stability of your photo processing ship:

    1. Yes, you're good now with 16.3 perpetual license.  But, what happens if Apple changes something in the OS that breaks your version?  This seems to happen more frequently with Apple than Microsoft.  You can't always "freeze" your OS version and/or sometimes by the time you realize you have this OS version problem, you've already upgraded.
    2. What happens if you run into important bugs in your 16.3.x that block your progress (session, catalog, certain images, important features, etc...)?
    3. For my landscapes and wildlife, I am building a library of photos (some processed already, some not) that I like to go back to for various purposes, then tweak the processing for a particular purpose.  But, that Capture One catalog and adjustments I have all my images in is proprietary (largely not usable outside of Capture One) so that catalog is a bet/investment in the future of that Capture One ecosystem.  If it goes away or becomes financially infeasible, then my catalog and all the adjustments don't have as long a life as I want them to.  Even though I own 16.3 and it's enough for my needs now, I'm reconsidering whether I want to continue to put more photos into that ecosystem.
    4. And, then as you already mentioned, ongoing RAW support for new cameras.

    You're free to make whatever choices you want - I just wanted to mention a few other relevant points to add into your consideration.

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