What Does "Perpetual" Mean?


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hurricane51
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I'm a bit confused over Macrium's use of the word "perpetual license". In my mind (and the dictionary's definition), perpetual means forever. I interpret that to mean "lifetime". As far as I can tell, nothing in the licensing of Reflect is anywhere close to lifetime. Support expires after one year, and major upgrades are not free. Can I be enlightened?
jphughan
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This terminology is not unique to Macrium.  A perpetual software license means that the version of the software you purchased, such as Reflect 8 Home, will remain yours to use forever, without any later payments required to continue using it.  It doesn't mean you get free upgrades to NEWER versions though, and it doesn't necessarily even mean that the version you have will remain compatible with future hardware or Windows versions you might try to use it with.  But if you purchase a perpetual license for Reflect V8, then you will be entitled to use that license for Reflect V8 for as long as you wish.  Microsoft uses this terminology for Office, where you have an option of purchasing it either as a subscription model where you can only use it as long as you continue paying for it, but you get upgrades as they become available (that's Office 365), OR you can buy a perpetual license for a specific version, such as Office 2019, in which case you pay upfront once and can use it forever -- or at least for as long as you run a hardware and OS environment where it functions.

Support is not perpetual, but you also don't have to maintain an active support contract to keep using Reflect if you hold a perpetual license.

Edited 15 June 2021 2:46 AM by jphughan
JK
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Another well-known imaging software product (Acronis True Image) recently discontinued the sale of perpetual licenses, moving to a subscription-only license model, and as a result many long-time users (including even Acronis support forum experts) are now turning to competitor's products.  Subscription licensing means that your software will stop working after one year, unless you pay up again.  That is why I ended up abandoning Acronis and purchasing my perpetual Macrium Reflect license this month.

You should be happy that Macrium does offer perpetual licenses, in this world that is shifting more and more towards subscription and software-as-service models (which essentially hold users hostage, and remove all incentives for the software vendor to make meaningful improvements to their product).  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Macrium never joins that awful bandwagon. 
jphughan
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I wouldn't say that subscriptions remove incentives for vendors to improve.  As you note, users can and sometimes do move to competitors.  And some customers would rather rent their software by paying a small amount forever, getting new versions as they become available, rather than paying a large amount upfront once to buy a given version outright.  Of course offering a subscription option for the former customers doesn't rule out continuing to offer perpetual licenses, but unfortunately I think the allure of a regularly recurring, fairly predictable influx of revenue will prove too alluring to resist, at least for most companies.  The major growth companies or products these days are heavily subscription-based.

Macrium with Reflect V8 has sort of switched to a subscription offering for their business products, i.e. everything except Reflect Home.  But the crucial distinction in Macrium's implementation is that failure to maintain a subscription will not cause the application to stop working.  The time it comes into play is if you want to upgrade to a major release later on.  In the past, Macrium offered discounted upgrade pricing, and they still do for Reflect Home.  But on the business side, they also had another option of maintaining an active support contract, which in addition to providing support came with upgrades at no additional cost to any major releases that launched during your support period.  Starting with Reflect V8, if you want to upgrade from a business edition of Reflect V7, you don't have to pay the "base" cost of the software license as a brand new customer would.  Instead, your upgrade cost is a full year of support into the future plus whatever it WOULD have cost you to have maintained continuous support from the time your V7 support expired up to the current day, up to a maximum of 1.5 years of "back pay", i.e. if your Reflect V7 support expired 2 years ago, you'd only pay for 1.5 years of missed support.  It's an interesting model.  If users don't plan to upgrade to major releases, then they can let their support lapse and Reflect will keep working.  But it also provides an incentive for users to keep support contracts active, because if users know they'll be paying retroactively for support costs when it comes time to upgrade, then they may decide that they may as well keep paying for support proactively so they get the additional benefit of having support.

Edited 15 June 2021 10:29 PM by jphughan
Patrick O'Keefe
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jphughan - 15 June 2021 4:07 PM
...
Macrium with Reflect V8 has sort of switched to a subscription offering for their business products, i.e. everything except Reflect Home.  But the crucial distinction in Macrium's implementation is that failure to maintain a subscription will not cause the application to stop working.  The time it comes into play is if you want to upgrade to a major release later on. ...
Boy!  That's a huge difference from the typical subscription - sort of perpetual but with an upgrade penalty.  Everything still works if you stop paying, but there's a big incentive to continue.  Of course, it also helps that Macrium provides support and maintenance worth paying for.  The incentive to continue paying is not so great with many other products.

hurricane51
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Patrick O'Keefe - 15 June 2021 5:19 PM
jphughan - 15 June 2021 4:07 PM
...
Macrium with Reflect V8 has sort of switched to a subscription offering for their business products, i.e. everything except Reflect Home.  But the crucial distinction in Macrium's implementation is that failure to maintain a subscription will not cause the application to stop working.  The time it comes into play is if you want to upgrade to a major release later on. ...
Boy!  That's a huge difference from the typical subscription - sort of perpetual but with an upgrade penalty.  Everything still works if you stop paying, but there's a big incentive to continue.  Of course, it also helps that Macrium provides support and maintenance worth paying for.  The incentive to continue paying is not so great with many other products.

Subscription usage is relatively recent and an option with most software that does offer subscriptions (Including Office). As far as my experience goes (and it goes back a long, long way), Macrium's  "perpetual" license is just the normal licensing for desktop software. You use it until it just doesn't do the job. I can't think of any software that the publisher suddenly disabled when a new version came out.

I'm a happy user of Reflect and I've tried many different packages from corporate level packages like CommVault to software published by one person. I've tried most of the current crop of backup software (which should really be called "restore" software, but that's another pet peeve). Reflect is the only one that reliably performed bare metal restores over and over in real life situations and under extensive testing. Everyday single file restores are simple enough that I can "almost" convince a normal user to try it.  I just think that Macrium's labeling of "perpetual" is misleading. I polled 7 of my former IT co-workers and they all thought perpetual license meant lifetime license.
jphughan
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hurricane51 - 15 June 2021 5:47 PM
I polled 7 of my former IT co-workers and they all thought perpetual license meant lifetime license.

That surprises me given that Microsoft uses the term "perpetual license" for Office 2019.  Buying that entitles you to use Office 2019 for as long as it works for you.  It does not entitle you to free upgrades to any future major releases of Office that Microsoft may launch until the end of time.  The same was true of Windows, at least until Windows 10 arrived.  We'll see what happens with Windows 11 or whatever Microsoft calls it.  I can't immediately think of any major software product that allow you to pay once for lifetime entitlements to all future major releases.  That certainly wouldn't have an analogue when buying physical products.  If I buy a car outright rather than leasing it, I get to use that car as long as I want to, but I don't get free upgrades to future generations of that model.  I would have expected IT pros to understand the concept that a perpetual software licenses is for a specific product, like "Reflect 8", and not "Whatever version of Reflect is current at any point in time from now into eternity."  That would be Microsoft's Software Assurance, which is sold as....a subscription.

Edited 15 June 2021 6:09 PM by jphughan
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The only software I've ever purchased that had perpetual upgrades to ALL releases, even new ones after the one I purchased the license for, were Wondershare Filmora, a video editing software, and VueScan, a document scanner interface software.  Oh, and really showing my age, MusicMatch Jukebox back in 1997, which was actually the very first software license I ever bought online.  However, for those first two, I did pay more for the "perpetual" perpetual license as my choice.

Patrick O'Keefe
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hurricane51 - 15 June 2021 5:47 PM
... I can't think of any software that the publisher suddenly disabled when a new version came out.
I didn't mean to imply that.  The subscription model usually means you can use the product until your current subscription runs out.  Then the software stops working.  The subscription may or may not include upgrades.  Perpetual license usually means that the software will continue to run forever (as long as the hardware supports it).  It may be limited to a single computer (or a small set number of computers).  Upgrades and maintenance are usually not included.

Of course there is no standard body in charge of these terms.  A vendor can use any term it wishes (subject to local laws) to entice customers to pay.

alQamar
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Perpetual means for the lifetime of the product in most cases so all upgrades to MR 8.x should be free. 9.x not 
Unless the vendor wants to change the game. See Windows 11.
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