Friday night topic: Slimy software companies

I’ll admit it. I actually bought a piece of software from Corel today. I decided to upgrade to Paint Shop Pro X5 from several versions back, so I looked through the confusing list of new features built into the latest revision, became thoroughly dazzled and confused, and gave them my money. All I really wanted was to import RAW files from my camera and adjust the white balance easily.

Still, participating in the transaction, as with so many with major PC software companies, made me feel a little slimy.

Shamefully, in my rush and confusion, I ponied up an extra ten bucks to get the "Ultimate" edition for additions whose value was unclear, telling myself that it was "only $10." Later, realizing what I’d done, I cried a little to myself. You never bite on the upsell, and I knew better. I have yet to install the "Ultimate" extras. I doubt I ever will.

When I added the download-only version of the program to my cart and went to check out, Corel had "automagically" thrown an additional item: "download insurance" for $9.99. If you buy this "insurance," Corel pledges to let you download another copy of the program in the event that you lose yours in a disk crash or whatnot. I carefully removed the item from my cart and checked out. On the next page, I was told that downloading the software wouldn’t be necessary for users of the freely downloadable demo, because the software key will unlock the demo into the full version.

Ugh. I need a shower to get off the stank.

Doesn’t it seem that many of the major PC software companies are basically evil? You know what I mean, right? They seem to employ nearly every slimy tactic possible. They refuse to fix simple bugs, instead requiring users to upgrade to new versions to get fixes. They scramble their interfaces to make programs seem "new" from one rev to the next, nuking usability and wasting our time in the process. They bundle all sorts of things we don’t want with the software we do. On and on.

Why does this situation persist in 2012? Don’t just say greed: most companies eventually realize being actively hostile to customers is bad policy. At times, it feels like the major PC makers and software firms both are enaged in some sort of suicide pact. This can’t end well for, uh, non-walled gardens. Can it?

Discuss. And let me know who you think is the worst offender. Besides Intuit, of course.

Comments closed
    • hoboGeek
    • 7 years ago

    What is it so surprising about this practice?
    There is this phrase often credited to P. T. Barnum (1810–1891) “There’s a sucker born every minute” . Stupidity is universal and atemporal.
    When I intend to acquire anything, including software, I always start from the idea that the salesman is out to pull a fast one on me…
    Grow up, Scott. I bet any of us would try to do the same in order to survive in the Jungle of Software Market.
    Oh, one last thing!
    After they left you bleeding from behind, they mention that:
    1. It’s all for your protection
    2. They care about their customers

    • shaurz
    • 7 years ago

    My guess is that PC software companies are desperate. One of the nice things about using open source software is the lack of “slime”, even if the programs are sometimes inferior or lacking in features (often the case for more specialised software). Although more often than not they end up being vastly better than the commercial equivalents.

    • ordskiweicz
    • 7 years ago

    Too often true.

    But for the record, Adobe tech support helped me when I re-installed a copy of CS5 and got told I should have deactivated it before I upgraded to Win 8. 1) How would you know? 2) It was never on another box though they claimed it was registered twice and 3) at least they came thru in only 10 mins. On $250 + software (bought only for the raw capabilities – I still like Photoshop version 7 best)

    • GatoRat
    • 7 years ago

    Every digital camera I’ve owned includes a disc or web access to a program to do the basic file importing, which you can usually then convert to JPG or PNG.

    • Shouefref
    • 7 years ago

    )—–

    • kvndoom
    • 7 years ago

    I won’t say microsoft in general, but their Media Player team is nothing short of despicable. Every version since 10 reduces interface features and makes it less enjoyable. I don’t give a rat’s ass how well it syncs or if it’s more compatible, it shouldn’t be such a crappy experience to you know, play media. Media Player 12 is the worst version ever.

    Used to playing in Now Playing view? Fine but the menu bar is gone. Only way to see the menu bar is to go to Library view, and in all the versions I have used back to WMP8 I have never ever used the Library.

    That’s not even the worst. You have album art embedded in your music files? Prepare to see only thumbnails:

    [url<]http://dalepreston.com/Blog/2009/08/laughable-album-art-craziness-in.html[/url<] Seriously? Registry hacks to get embedded album art to show up greater than 200x200? Did I wake up in bizarro world where we are using 640x480 14" monitors again? I am really considering dumping Windows 7 and going to Vista.

    • hasseb64
    • 7 years ago

    I just say:
    YES!
    They are slimy and filthy!
    Many of these companies underperform in quality, innovation and practical value but are experts in adding costs.

    It’s a PC/x86-biz in a nutshell! Shame!

    • anotherengineer
    • 7 years ago

    I don’t think I would regard Corel as slimy or shady. I have bought software from them and I have had no issues.

    Think of it as supporting the economy and keeping those poor code monkeys working.

    We as consumers get to make a conscious decision on whether or not to purchase whatever we want, that greasy big mac combo, which could end up killing us, or some software as a tool to do a task.

    I also pay full $$ for MS OS, and don’t have any regret, because I know most software engineers that work at MS are usually well paid and Mr.Gates charity work.

    That said I do agree there are opportunistic peoples/companies out there that come up with less than “genuine” ways to make you part with your money.

    When I make a purchase that I am unhappy about, I just try to look at the big picture and say well someone somewhere made some money, and maybe they will spend it and put it back into the economy.

    • Liron
    • 7 years ago

    The download insurance is not Corel’s fault. Their credit card merchant hosts the content and will fulfill it one time per credit card transaction. The extra $10 to be able to download multiple times are totally between the merchant and the end user. Corel doesn’t get any part of that.

    I’ve tried to find a merchant with international fulfillment that offers a less slimy alternative for when we finish our first program. If there is any, it’s not easy to find. The only alternative is to host the content yourself and use your own bandwidth and international replication which is, of course, impossible for the vast majority of software makers (now that almost any little program can be multiple GBs).

    So this particular aspect is not really so much slimy software companies, as it is slimy banks. That is, naturally, a huge surprise.

    On the other end of the spectrum, I have to mention Pixologic. They made a revolutionary program that literally transformed an entire industry. They are unchallenged at what they do with no credible competition. Still, they keep adding massive amounts of incredible new features with every new version and even with point releases. As if that wasn’t enough, all their upgrades -ever- have always been free. If you bought version one, you can get the latest version without any cost at all. They also don’t bundle anything. We also have to remember the good guys!

      • MadManOriginal
      • 7 years ago

      It’s still partially Corel’s fault for distributing software that way and through that payment processor.

        • Shouefref
        • 7 years ago

        I think it’s a bit unfortunate that the example is giving using Corel.
        It now looks as if all that kind of evil comes from Corel, but first of all: not many people will suffer from that, as Corel isn’t used as much anymore as it was in the 80’s and beginning of the 90’s, when it was MS’s biggest competitor for word processing.

        I also think that if this sort of slimy tricks wouldn’t be used anymore, the price of software would just go up: it has to be compensated somewhere.

        That said: I agree that it’s appalling that something like bug fixes are even necessary. It’s a big nuisance.

    • bwcbiz
    • 7 years ago

    It’s a shame you pick Corel as your slimy example, because apart from the “Download Insurance” opt-out, I don’t see what the problem is here. The normal vs. ultimate option isn’t that hard to avoid in Corel’s products: they usually have a product comparison chart that links to each version – so shame on you for that one.

    As far as “unlocking the demo version”, I would be more sympathetic if it weren’t for the fact that the demo is a time-limited full-featured program. It’s not like you downloaded demo software that had features using up your download bandwidth and disk space, but weren’t available to use. This isn’t a game that ships with extra DLC that can only be unlocked by paying more, it’s the same as the old shareware model – you try it for a while and if you like it you pay for a full license.

    Maybe I’m a bit too sympathetic with Corel because I was a long-time WordPerfect user back in the Stone Age of DOS and Windows, but god knows there are plenty of software companies I consider more slimy than Corel – even with their “Download insurance”.

    • moog
    • 7 years ago

    I think Open Source software (and their organizations like GNU, FSF, etc.) is pretty destructive. I can’t think of any other trade that has tradespeople giving years of work away for free or exposing their work to competition. It’s anti-capitalist. Furthermore many of these companies (Google etc.) are dominating but it’s a pyrrhic victory.

    We’ll see a move to these “evil” and “slimy” tactics by companies because customers now are not accustomed to pay a fair price up front for software.

    • Thrashdog
    • 7 years ago

    You want software slime? It may be just what I’m exposed to, but I’d point at Autodesk. Between them and Adobe, they’ve got the design software market into an abusive duopoly that lets them charge three grand plus a few hundred in annual subscription fees per seat for AutoCAD, a product that hasn’t changed substantially in almost a decade. They charge that again for another product, Revit, that’s been more or less public-beta quality ever since they purchased the original developers. Show-stopper bug? Oh, that sucks. They’ll maybe get around to fixing it in two or three versions, and you’ll have to pay for the upgrade that fixes it. They recently announced changes to their licensing system that amount to a 25% cost increase for no improvement in features. Their tech support is legendarily unhelpful, to the point that their resellers just throw their hands up and and sigh if you come across a problem that hasn’t been solved by somebody else already. Scum, all the way down.

    • ronch
    • 7 years ago

    That’s why as much as possible I stick with open sauce software. Of course I can’t speak for those large corporations that have no choice but to rely on commercial software such as SAP, MS Dynamics, etc. I shiver to think how those slimers hold companies by the neck year after year. Then agin, those said companies are also holding the necks of consumers year after year in their own little ways, so I guess it’s just karma or whatever you call it.

    • ShadowTiger
    • 7 years ago

    I can’t wait till all the software ends up on steam with 75% discounts on holidays. : P

    Seriously though, I think Steam has really nailed the whole software library thing, in terms of letting you download stuff as much as you want, on as many machines, with a nice universal shopping cart. I think Stardock and GoG are also upstanding citizens.

    • no51
    • 7 years ago

    Do games count as software? Cause I’m gonna go ahead and nominate Zynga.

      • Grape Flavor
      • 7 years ago

      ha, so true. And they’re finally starting to pay for it.

    • LoneWolf15
    • 7 years ago

    The worst companies seem to be the ones that buy out other companies products and become a big conglomerate nightmare. Adobe. Symantec. Oracle (well, Oracle was, but what they’ve done with Sun’s IP is a good example). Broderbund (or whoever really owns them now). Corel.

    They seem to buy products, and then coast on a number of them without seriously improving them, or they make it part of a family that was already partially broken. Or they add complex, draconian licensing schemes.

    Aside from my Microsoft Technet subscription (my home is my test environment), a game here or there and OS licenses obtained via hardware, my software library is primarily open source, or freeware, except for one environment: Android apps. Most of which I gladly pay for when there is an ad-free version, because most Android apps offer me great value for the money and a fair number of updates and bug fixes for free. If the desktop PC market did the same, I’d be all over it. I don’t expect them to be as inexpensive, but if the support was like the apps I paid for in the Android market, I’d open my wallet.

    • rrr
    • 7 years ago

    “Doesn’t it seem that many of the major PC software companies are basically evil? You know what I mean, right? They seem to employ nearly every slimy tactic possible. They refuse to fix simple bugs, instead requiring users to upgrade to new versions to get fixes. They scramble their interfaces to make programs seem “new” from one rev to the next, nuking usability and wasting our time in the process. They bundle all sorts of things we don’t want with the software we do. On and on.”

    Worst thing? Some sheeple will still defend those companies, like “Oh, you just have to get used to it, stop being lazy!”. Plenty of Windows 8 shills around tell you just that, I won’t even have to call them out by nicknames, one came to my mind pretty much as I was reading quoted part.

    • Oldtech
    • 7 years ago

    #87 & #76 You are absolutly correct.

    • holophrastic
    • 7 years ago

    You’ve picked a very bad example. Paint Shop Pro is, by far, my favourite graphics suite for web development. I’ve been using every version since version 3, roughly two, decades ago. The thing is that it was Jasc’s Paint Shop Pro. And Jasc did it right.

    Corel bought them out around version 10, since PSP was major competition to Corel’s own graphics suites. I’m quite happy that Corel kept PSP alive. And while they bill it as a photographer’s organizer suite, and made it more compelling in that field, they’ve kept the full editor proper.

    They’ve done a few dumb things, like limit the size of the image that can be created, but not the size that can be opened, which is just funny, so I use an older version to create a large empty image.

    But after so many versions, yeah I’ve learned how to buy new ones, and wade through all of the upsells.

    But the worsd one, by far, was GoDaddy back when I used them in the ’90s. I imagine they’re worse now.

      • The Jedi
      • 7 years ago

      I don’t think Jasc/Corel knows how to make software that doesn’t freeze or crash. They also don’t know how to leave well enough alone. I debated buying PSP X3 on sale for $15 when I looked up their patch history on Corel.com and found that after a year they were on “Service Pack 5”. $15 later and I’m just not that impressed. And they keep changing keyboard shortcuts for no reason. I tried Photoshop CS6 and still use my ancient but super-fast Paint Shop Pro 6.

      Regarding the Ultimate SKUs: what you get are plug-ins, which are usually pretty sweet.

      • bender
      • 7 years ago

      I’m with you on the Jasc versions being good. I still rock PSP 8.

      Never bothered with the Corel versions since they always looked to me to be an entirely different program from the old versions.

      • GatoRat
      • 7 years ago

      I still use PSP 7 and have yet to find a reason to update. I’d be tempted if it weren’t for the awful UI Corel has slapped on it and how they’ve made simple tasks more complicated. I’ve yet to understand the “gray on black” concept (also embraced by Adobe.) though do admit it’s better than Microsoft’s colorless “white on gray” UI for Visual Studio 2012.

    • nstuff
    • 7 years ago

    I know the target of the topic is more towards consumer products, but when it comes to slimy software companies, I think those that target Enterprise solutions are some of the slimiest.

    Sales person sells your company product X that will promise to do amazing things, maximize ROI, and reduce TCO. They want to have a relationship with your company to work together towards a mutual profitable future. There might have been golf and beer involved.

    Your company buys product for $X millions of dollars.

    Then comes the standard 18-22% of original price in the form of annual maintenance fees to get support and software updates and fixes. This normally is just basic service as higher priority will cost much more annually.

    Then comes actually trying to use the shiny new product. Your company will now require a consulting firm full of subject matter experts at really healthy $/hr rates to configure and customize the software so that it will actually work. Typical time to get new product fully working will be around 6-12 months. The expectation is after the system is setup, a magical thing called knowledge transfer will occur and onsite staff will know how to support the product.

    The interface will most likely resemble something out of 1985 and require lots of user training and support costs to help users work with the new product.

    Since the software company does not test their own products, the first 6 months will mostly involve troubleshooting issues, reporting bugs and waiting for fixes. That and dealing with performance issues.

    So, after 1-1.5 years, new product is in place, users hate it, your company did not realize the lower TCO, and saw negative ROI.

    And the software company is laughing all the way to the bank.

    That’s slimy.

      • kitsura
      • 7 years ago

      Basically all ERP based on SAP, Oracle, etc.

      • trackerben
      • 7 years ago

      Heh. You hit close to home, closer than you think. Back when the company we founded sold ERP warehouse systems, I would visit customer sites hosting competitive hurdles and benchmark testing onsite. We won many contracts. But I noticed there were too many reported technical and delivery screw-ups by our team and our competitors, more than can be explained away by accident.

      It seemed that every brand’s new-product strategy in the enterpise market is to sell beta packages into alpha sites, towards a faith-based planning horizon. The going expectation was to (hopefully) cycle through enough updates and fixes in the course of a months-long sales cycle. Enough to keep progress payments on track until minimum deliverables is achieved. To this end, enterprise developers would rely in practice on a select few customers to enlist in what is essentially extended beta testing in the “friendly” wild. The understanding was that these customer partners would knowingly help us evolve our products in a forgiving production environment. In return they would be favored with better terms and conditions and importantly, an inside track to top level support.

      But for every such friendly “beta” customer, there were ten or more to whom we sold packages de facto on normal contracts and with far less handholding. That is, the kind of general customer you appear to be referring to, i.e. the great unwashed crowd of “non-partner” sites there for the taking. At least we had an industry-wide code of holding back iffy stuff like unproven RDBMS versions from non partner accounts, until availability and functionality were deemed compliant enough for wider release.

      And this is where the tale twists.

      The naughty <enterprise> situation just outlined amazingly obtains in today’s <consumer> electronics markets. Billions of people today are found generously funding the generational development of billiions of half-baked smart devices. With the possible exception of hardware old-schoolers like Apple and (maybe still) Nokia, most mobile brands release beta-class firmware and UI with the same old “understanding” of openly evolving the product with a friendly customer base before market irrelevance sets in. Progress in evolving successive generations of better designs is partly achieved with the willing help of too manyaffected consumers who buy too easily into too many marketing promises.

      Aspiring second-tier brands like Samsung, LG, and HTC and now-struggling leaders like Motorola and Sony expect millions to freely discover product issues and respond back to their channels for their proprietary benefit. Responses are seen and assessed in forums and blogs and outboard focus groups, automated reports and service histories, consultant surveys and industry venues. It seems to me this is how today’s mass-market consumer is shaped into a newfangled “beta user”, turned into supporting the lifecycle viability of beta-class gear with little favor returned, aside from the occasional pricing promo between generational revisions.

      It’s a wonder that hundreds of millions are letting themselves get taken for a funding ride by so many big corporates. Apple played this game back when they were worth excusing for their pioneering mobiles. Now of course, we have Microsoft and Nokia joining Apple with three separate platforms, of which one will be abandoned with many trapped in its last cycle. But at least Apple and Nokia hardware tend to be (mostly) tested and polished. With the rest…

      An eight of a planetary population’s worth of Google mobile OS users are actually paying to participate in the largest and longest undisclosed beta development in history. Some 80-90% of Android buyers are stuck in beta hell on generation 2.x and below. The rest appear content to be paying an over-generous price for the privilege of being one of the 10% whose beta participation continues onward. The situation is morally ridiculous. If this consumer boondogle is where business ethics or what is left of it is taking us, then our appliance markets are no better than our financial ones.

      I’ve been on the other side of this extractive strategy and profited from my firm’s success in bringing best-of-a-bad-breed technology to knowledgeable buyers. But this, to see this inflicted on so many ordinary folks just because most by nature don’t know or don’t care enough to find or demand better for their money… this is a minor 21st-century tragedy of the commons.

        • MadManOriginal
        • 7 years ago

        The price to pay for hyperspeed annual updates and product releases? It used to be that products lasted on the market for a number of years with minor updates and tweaks, now the development cycle isn’t long enough to fully test. I don’t think it’s a good thing either, but maybe it’s just most apparent in new and quickly expanding markets where many of the buyers are first time buyers. Once there’s enough saturation and enough people are using the newer ‘good’ versions, I hope companies keep up with updates to these old ‘good’ versions after the next product comes out.

          • trackerben
          • 7 years ago

          For fast-innovating consumer markets I suppose this a price to be paid. The shared cost is the truncation of design and test tracks resulting many substandard models hitting the streets which turn off many new buyers. We all know people who gave up on some cheap and nasty droid in favor of better Android or iOS models. The problem eventually catches up with manufacturers who fail to evolve a less exploitative scheme. Once feature classes stratify the market, new buyers quickly learn to avoid certain brands or model lines due to poor experiences with immature design and polish. But in the meantime so much money is wasted on devices not ready to keep pace with the standard-bearers. This vast debacle in tech investment could be be a taxing burden on both consumers and the industry.

          The good news is that “Classic” smartphone models which evolve a deserved reputation for style, features, and reliability will eventually emerge. My candidates for mid-2010s iconic status would of course be the iPhone 4 and 5 and the Lumia 8xx series. The next Google Nexus will likely have a shot at being balanced champion, the current LG Nexus already seems to be an excellent tech value.

    • davidbowser
    • 7 years ago

    Disclaimer: I work for VMWare.

    *Puts on fireproof underpants*

    I get some negative feedback on VMware pricing/packaging, etc. from some customers, but I wondered what were the opinions of the IT folks in the TR crowd. Thoughts? Suggestions?

    And just to be clear, I don’t control pricing or marketing or any of that stuff, but I can have a dialog with customers and give the feedback to some folks.

      • grantmeaname
      • 7 years ago

      I dunno. I use the free stuff, and it’s good and free. Pretty much the only place to pay money for it is in a server environment, right?

        • LoneWolf15
        • 7 years ago

        Not true. VMWare Workstation is a great solution.

      • LostCat
      • 7 years ago

      That you just put your company name into a discussion about slimy software companies seems awkward.

        • davidbowser
        • 7 years ago

        Scott put out an anti-astroturfing policy a little while ago, so I started posting as my real name rather than an alias as well as putting a disclaimer into my comments about software companies.

        I may work for VMware now, but I spent 15 years in IT Ops and Security, so I know how software companies work from both sides. Since the topic came up, I figured I might as well find out how TR people feel about the company I work for.

          • moose17145
          • 7 years ago

          I guess i cant really comment about the commercial side of your company as i havent ever had to purchase anything from vmware, but i use vmware player for a few different linux distros for educational purposes (still in college for a degree in IT specializing in network security). It works well.

          On the army side we use lots of esxi boxes to run a buttload of various vm’s that do various things. Seems to work most of the time.

          So overall idk… vmware seems to have some pretty decent virtualization and i personally havent had any issues with your company… but as i stated, i only mainly use the free stuff and have never had to deal with buying anything from them.

          As for the enterprise grade stuff i use in the gaurd, im sure the government tells vmware what they want and that if they dont like it then they can just lose their contract with the dod… lol

          I will say the enterprise grade stuff we run in the gaurd is a lot more configurable than the free stuff… but that is kind of to be expected given one is running on a dedicated esxi box and the other is running inside windoze on my laptop / desktop and was free. Even still the free stuff works damn well imo. At least… for what im demanding of it it works well.

      • cheddarlump
      • 7 years ago

      The licenses I was quoted for vmware were twice what I paid for my HA cluster hardware. I couldn’t say yes to that as a small business IT manager, especially when Hyper-V 3 does the same things for free and is support is included with my Windows Server license.

      • Corrado
      • 7 years ago

      I don’t like that the cost of a license essentially doubled recently for the same product because VMWare decided that it wanted to allocate differently (amount of vRAM vs # of CPUs), however they have ditched that as of September and gone back to the CPU model, thank god.

      • Bauxite
      • 7 years ago

      How about updating drivers to not use code from 3 years ago when said drivers are well maintained by those responsible? VMware’s HCL is a joke to be frank. (e.g. the e1000 series drivers which were pulled straight out of linux) The open hostility against whiteboxing is just shooting yourselves in the foot too.

      • GatoRat
      • 7 years ago

      I like many VMWare products but find their purchasing process is very geared toward large companies. I’ve also found that the documentation for some of their free and/or low cost products is horrible. ESXi, for example, is awesome, but installing and using it was a bit frustrating. Hopefully I learned and/or the documentation changed, since I may be installing it again in a few months.

    • hp9000
    • 7 years ago

    Oracle database software, by far the most expensive scam ever invented. Their licensing scheme is so complicated, you talk to 10 sales reps and you get 10 different prices. Plus, every processor and core adds a new license, so if you upgrade your sever from say a 2×4-core cpu to an 2×8-core cpu (because, you know, technology advances, processing power doubles every so often and hardware gets obsolete and out of warranty after a few years in spite of your best wishes), all of a sudden you have to pay twice as much, even if you’re still running the same number of databases, users, same volume of data etc. that you’ve had for the last 10 years. So it’s a sweet ride for Oracle, they don’t move a finger but double their income every time you upgrade hardware. Our problem is that our budget DOESN’T double, which has forced us to start looking at alternative databases, even free ones, and have to invest in the re-development of in-house applications, or to keep servers around way beyond their replacement date because we can’t afford the software. Imagine, I have 30 servers and all of a sudden it’s like I have to find the money pay for 60, try explaining that to your finance dept. We’ve been looking at buying a big honking server and virtualizing, but it’s the same UNLESS you buy Oracle Virtualization software. VMware is not supported and not considered “true” virtualization so you still have to pay per core/cpu. It’s ridiculous, and a constant source of fights at our place of work. I don’t know how Oracle can get away with it. How many people would be happy at the prospect of having to pay for 4 Windows licenses because they upgraded from a lowly i3 to a brand-new i7?

      • flip-mode
      • 7 years ago

      Sounds like your company should be on a mission to abandon Oracle, hopefully for something open source.

    • Bensam123
    • 7 years ago

    They need a revenue stream and once they saturate the market with the piece of software and everyone has it, no one buys it again. They basically end up with no income. So, they could either keep reinventing the wheel (which most companies do), make other different software, they make little addons or plugins and charge for them (microtransactions), or they charge some sort of fee for continued updates (a subscription). A subscription system can be something along the lines of incremental updates (Apple does this) too.

    When you develop software you’re basically your own worst enemy. The better you do it, the less likely you will be to have a job in the future doing the same thing as you put yourself out of business. Game developers ran into the same conundrum and simply stopped making different software and just kept reinventing what they knew was profitable.

    If there are other ways to solve this problem I would be happy to hear it.

    • Chrispy_
    • 7 years ago

    Personally, I’m not quite sure how Adobe and Oracle get away with their opt-out bundled software.

    Flash insists on installing McAfee Security Scan and/or the Google toolbar
    Oracle tries to push the Ask toolbar every update; Yes, [b<]EVERY[/b<] update. For it is not enough that I unselected the Ask toolbar the previous 26 updates. I might want it [i<]now[/i<]. In fact, Oracle are so sure that I will want it now that they have decided to check that [i<]feature[/i<] for me in case I miss it myself. Urgh; I feel dirty just thinking about it 🙁

      • Goofus Maximus
      • 7 years ago

      Get thee to ninite.com, and use their installer/updater for all your flash/shockwave/reader/silverlight/java/much-more installing and updating needs, without ever having to tell an installer “NO! I do NOT want any toolbars, nor do I want a scanner from a fugitive in Belize!” ever again.

        • davidbowser
        • 7 years ago

        I am pretty sure Secunia PSI works the same way. I have been using it on my Windows systems for a few years and and they recently (this year?) added the auto-updater that strips out the crapware.

    • moog
    • 7 years ago

    TR why did you refuse to fix this simple bug until the latest upgrade?

    The cursor would disappear when arrow keying back in a comment textbox in IE9, the premier less suckier browser.

    Sh1t happens. But thanks for fixing it.

    • OhYeah
    • 7 years ago

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned Daemon Tools, which for the last couple of years bundles adware with its software. My installer, which was in English, switched to Russian all of a sudden and the program gave me options to continue and I chose the wrong one. My homepage got diverted to Russian one and a lot of nasty toolbars/plugins got installed. The one in Opera I couldn’t figure out where it was stored and how to get rid of it so yeah, Windows Install Round 2. Did I choose Daemon Tools again? Hell no. Virtual CloneDrive is all you need.

      • FubbHead
      • 7 years ago

      Yeah, went with CloneDrive immediately when they started bundling adware crap in their installer. And CloneDrive had become so much better than Daemon Tools anyway.

      • Malphas
      • 7 years ago

      That’s probably because no-one uses Daemon Tools anymore. Virtual Clonedrive is superior and Windows 8 has ISO mounting built-in by default.

    • BIF
    • 7 years ago

    Yeah, I’m not happy about Corel’s games; I feel like I’m being taken to the cleaners by carnies.

    But Adobe is worse and you pay 10 times more money for the privilege of losing at the “throw the rings over the bottle” game.

      • Meadows
      • 7 years ago

      At least Adobe software have a general layout that hasn’t been shaken up in at least 6-8 years (other than prettifying the window chrome with the new CS versions), and they seem to always add “one more feature” that someone, somewhere, will [i<]actually[/i<] need. Expensive? Sure. So are Tesla processors.

    • blitzy
    • 7 years ago

    download insurance? bleh, it’s a pity.. I’ve used some corel software before and was generally impressed by it, did the job and was easy to use. About what I’d expect. download insurance sounds like something hatched up by some marketing department

    • thesmileman
    • 7 years ago

    @Scott, Try the free and open source Raw Therapee. It is amazingly good and great support for white balance, has the control of Lightroom has a great huge pdf documentation.

    It isn’t like calling Gimp a Photoshop replacement it is actually a solid piece of software.

    [url<]http://rawtherapee.com/[/url<]

    • flip-mode
    • 7 years ago

    This line
    [quote<]Why does this situation persist in 2012? Don't just say greed: most companies eventually realize being actively hostile to customers is bad policy.[/quote<] made me think of this: [url<]http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10814893[/url<] [quote<]By sending an email that repels all but the most gullible, the scammer gets the most promising marks to self-select, and tilts the true to false positive ration in his favour.[/quote<] The correlation I'm making is that I'm not so sure that such "active hostility", as you call it, is necessarily self defeating. They might just be fishing for suckers. Everybody usually ends up being a sucker once in a while.

      • BobbinThreadbare
      • 7 years ago

      There has to be more money in selling a $50 quality software to 10s of millions of users than there is in selling $100 shitty software to 100s of thousands rights?

        • flip-mode
        • 7 years ago

        Oh, yes, totally, I would think. But there are always going to be companies that aim for the suckers, too, or that don’t have the best product but still do what it takes to sell it.

          • willmore
          • 7 years ago

          In addition, you have to write a good program to appeal to those millions which you can shovel junk at the self-selected idiots.

    • Squeazle
    • 7 years ago

    I’m sorry that I bring DLC into a talk where it’s only loosely related, but it’s been by far the biggest source of pain for me recently.

    I got Fable III and Borderlands 2 on the steam sale, and while the gameplay of borderlands is quite a bit more fun, I am a sucker for storyline-y stuff and Fable III has some of what I like.

    The only difference is every time I go to play Fable, windows live steps in and tries to log me on. And then can’t. And will proceed to try 5 more times. Only once did it actually log me in rather than giving up and signing me into offline mode (no difference to me…). And it’s not like it’s the end of the world, but I honestly have spend 3 hours trying to start playing from the menu rather than running around shooting hobbs.

    • hubick
    • 7 years ago

    It seemed like whenever I bought a new blu-ray movie, I had to buy another PowerDVD upgrade to get my HTPC to actually play it, until I had spent far more on software upgrades than a nice hardware player ever would have cost. I eventually clued in and bought a hardware player, which has worked flawlessly ever since.

      • insulin_junkie72
      • 7 years ago

      Yeah, I was going to mention Blu-Ray software. Playing Blu-Ray on a PC is pretty much a mess all around, with software that’s rough around the edges and generally requires you to pay for yearly upgrades to support the latest and greatest DRM to play new discs.

      It’s easier to just rip the BluRay to harddrive (although discs with Cinevia are still tricky), or as you mentioned, cheaper and easier just to buy a dedicated BluRay player.

        • davidbowser
        • 7 years ago

        I bought a copy of AnyDVD HD when they were running a lifetime upgrades deal. Now I rip (fair use for me) to my heart’s content and get upgrades as new DRM schemes come out. Money well spent.

        I also bought (and paid for multiple upgrades 😐 ) Total Media Theatre for Blu-Ray playback. I have had better luck with it than I had with PowerDVD, and specifically around integration with mymovies.dk and Windows Media Center.

          • insulin_junkie72
          • 7 years ago

          AnyDVD doesn’t help with Cinavia discs, unfortunately, as far as I’m aware. It’s certainly great otherwise, though.

            • willmore
            • 7 years ago

            VLC? Pretty sure they didn’t write a module to support Cinavia and cripple their player. 🙂

    • Sargent Duck
    • 7 years ago

    IBM. If you’re ever a corporate customer of theirs, they go out of their way to make downloading software from their site as hard as possible. And bug fixes? Yeah, you have to figue out the exact one you want then call in and REQUEST the fix. Or installation? Each new release installs into a new directory. Good luck keeping one install directory. Terrible.

      • BIF
      • 7 years ago

      To that I would add Computer Associates.

        • indeego
        • 7 years ago

        HP’s support site is unfathomably slow. Has been ever since my very first visit.

          • kitsura
          • 7 years ago

          Don’t get me started on HP, i just realised that their procurve wireless AP firmware needs a support contract in order to download. Fine if it’s like a firewall firmware which adds features but when all you want is a bugfix of a frequent disconnect problem I won’t pay for it.

          Needless to say it is the first and last time I will get procurve AP, Asus will have my money from now on.

            • Flatland_Spider
            • 7 years ago

            [quote<]i just realised that their procurve wireless AP firmware needs a support contract in order to download.[/quote<] That's normal with business class networking equipment. Welcome to big leagues where you always need to ask, "What are the recurring costs?"

            • kitsura
            • 7 years ago

            Procurve switches firmware are free so I assumed that all products will be so, looks like I was wrong.

          • willmore
          • 7 years ago

          Don’t worry, that’s not new, it’s been like that for over a decade and a half.

    • esc_in_ks
    • 7 years ago

    I get annoyed by the software which tries to install useless browser plugins like Ask.com or Yahoo search. There are a number of free programs which do this as a method to support their development. I understand that, but it’s still annoying. I see people who are in the habit of clicking “next”, “next”, “I agree”, “next” and, before I can say “wait, go back, unclick that!”, the installer is done and they’ve got themselves a shiny new turd of a plugin.

    I’ve never seen one of these browser plugins do anything I find useful.

      • SomeOtherGeek
      • 7 years ago

      Yea, like the Oracle Java updater that leaves a check if you want to install Ask.com.

        • jessterman21
        • 7 years ago

        I work in IT and I have to remote in and manually uninstall Ask Toolbar at least 10 times a week from people updating Java. SO SLIMY

          • nexxcat
          • 7 years ago

          Why do you let your end-users control software updates? Why not push via SMS after vetting the package?

      • MadManOriginal
      • 7 years ago

      Opt-in needs to be law.

      • Goofus Maximus
      • 7 years ago

      I’m in love with the Ninite installers for this very reason. They automate the installation so I never have to uncheck a checkbox again. I set up a ninite installer that will update flash, shockwave, and silverlight all in one go.

    • TheEmrys
    • 7 years ago

    Corel? Really? Why not Lightroom and do it right?

      • Yeats
      • 7 years ago

      Because LR ain’t so hot, either. And both are overkill for, “to import RAW files from my camera and adjust the white balance easily.”

        • Goofus Maximus
        • 7 years ago

        I’ve never had the sort of money to throw at these, so I’m stuck with Paint.net and the Gimp.

        For what you want, you may want to check out one of the free alternatives such as UFRAW or Delaboratory. I use Delaboratory to import raw files from my Canon Powershot 590 IS (with it’s CHDK firmware hack), and adjust it’s colors in the LAB colorspace, then export it to TIFF format for the Gimp.

          • willmore
          • 7 years ago

          +1 for the CHDK reference alone. +1 more, if I could, for the good advice.

        • cphite
        • 7 years ago

        IrfanView does that for free, just as well, and is easier to use.

    • bthylafh
    • 7 years ago

    Adobe, always Adobe. Besides their continuous security shenanigans, not so long ago they decided to force owners of CS5 to purchase an upgrade to CS6 to get a security fix because CS5 was out of support. However they’d known about the security problem well before CS5 went EOL and chose to keep quiet and do nothing.

    Sony: ’nuff said.

    Oracle and Sun for the security circus that is Java.

    Handset makers and telecoms because of their generally shoddy support for Android devices.

    …hey, guess what there’s an ad for on the right of the screen? PSP X5. 😀

      • jessterman21
      • 7 years ago
      • Chrispy_
      • 7 years ago

      Don’t get me started on Adobe. I could fill (paper) volumes on their corrupt, inept sliminess.

      • TO11MTM
      • 7 years ago

      Adobe – Flash, Acrobat, and Photoshop are all wrecks in one way or another. How many versions did Photoshop have the bug where if you had a printer selected that it did not like it would exhibit absolutely unrelated problems (i.e. wouldn’t be able to open images over a certain size or more than one image. WTF does that have to do with my Default printer, Adobe?) Did they even fix that yet?

      Oracle – We use the phrase ‘poke ORC with the rebooty stick’ because windows Shutdown doesn’t work right on it. This was a ‘professional’ oracle install performed by a software company that uses it in their software package, fresh machine. Let alone uninstalling client tools/software from a machine.

      Autodesk – Just one of many, but my personal favorite example. [url<]http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/ps/dl/item?id=15228698&linkID=9240617&siteID=123112[/url<]

    • dpaus
    • 7 years ago

    Curious; I buy from Corel on-line all the time (we use the WordPerfect suite extensively) and haven’t encountered any of the things you mention.

    Although certainly not recent, the all-time winner for slime was Microsoft. One of the DOS/Windows updates (I don’t remember which one) would ‘detect’ CP/M, Linux or OS/2 partitions on the hard drive you were trying to install it on and helpfully remove them for you – without notice.

    A close second was Windows 3.11 detecting that it was running faster and cleaner on DR-DOS and refusing to continue.

      • bthylafh
      • 7 years ago

      Microsoft also patched Windows 3.11 so it would run poorly or not at all inside OS/2 3.0. A friend of mine got bit by that one.

        • TheEmrys
        • 7 years ago

        Pity, cause OS/2 3.0 was awesome.

      • bwcbiz
      • 7 years ago

      And you left out Microsoft pulling the rug out from under Wordperfect for Windows by changing the Win 95 APIs at the last minute.

        • GatoRat
        • 7 years ago

        Not true.

        At best, WordPerfect engineers used several undocumented calls from the core windows libraries that nobody else used. Seriously; every call they used had a documented counterpart.

        The more major point is that while WordPerfect had a few fantastic engineers, they also had some of the biggest idiots I’ve ever worked with. The worst non-junior engineers and managers I’ve worked with ALL came from WordPerfect. As a matter of course, I won’t hire ex-WordPerfect engineers unless endorsed by a small group of former work colleagues and a relative.

      • oldDummy
      • 7 years ago

      Don’t follow such things too much anymore but remember WP5 was in the running for best program ever produced.

      Sleaze factor: eggs embedded in drivers.

      Yes, I’m looking at you HP.

      • GatoRat
      • 7 years ago

      “A close second was Windows 3.11 detecting that it was running faster and cleaner on DR-DOS and refusing to continue.”

      Not true. I know because I not only tested this, I worked for Novell at the time which owned DR-DOS. It didn’t run faster and cleaner in DR-DOS; quite to the contrary. DR-DOS was almost, but not quite, compatible with DOS. For some inexplicable reasons the DR-DOS folks changed a few int 21h calls in subtle ways that caused problems with ALL low level programs. DR-DOS was one of the biggest headaches for the Novell client team.

    • jdaven
    • 7 years ago

    I think Real Networks was pretty shaddy. Thank god they are gone.

    • Jive
    • 7 years ago

    While this is somewhat relevant, i will never again purchase [i<]downloadable[/i<] software from Amazon. Although i don't remember the specifics because this was a while ago, I purchased Dragon Age from Amazon and had a terrible experience downloading and installing the game. My Next Amazon experience was me purchasing Angry Birds from the Amazon App Store FOR ANDROID (HTC Droid Incredible phone) because for whatever reason, the for-pay version of the game was not available on the regular Android Market, only the free ad-supported version was available. I was little peeved but thought it wasn't a big deal, ill download the Amazon App store, download Angry Birds, and then uninstall the Amazon App store. I did exactly that and soon realized that I was unable to play Angry Birds (or any other free or paid app that i downloaded from the Amazon App store) if the Amazon App store was not installed on your device. This pissed me off to no end and I vowed to never purchase downloadable software from Amazon (and still haven't till this day). The next company is EA, when i purchased Dragon Age (from Amazon as noted above), while it is a little fuzzy to me since it was so long ago, I learned that if i did not play the game within a years time, i would essentially give up the right to use my license key and it would expire. The next straw was them forcing me to install and use Origin for battlefield 3. If i purchase a piece of software, I don't want to install additional poorly coded and poorly thought-out software that does nothing to enhance my experience. If anything, i think Origin ruined my experienced with an otherwise great game. Since reinstalling my OS more than a year ago, i have yet to install Bf3 or any other EA title.

      • moose17145
      • 7 years ago

      OMFG THIS!!! At least the EA part… (i have never bought a downloadable game on amazon so i know nothing about that), but I pre-ordered BF3 from gamestop because i loved BF2 so much (still one of the best FPS games to date if you ask me… their 64 player maps were amazing). That was the biggest disappointment ever. I ordered a disc version because I didnt want the game tied to origin… it wasn’t until after i had already pre-ordered the game that it came out that you will be forced into using origin regardless of if you want it or not. Then their clunky crap interface where i can’t even launch the game without a net connection because it opens via your damn web browser, but only after they infest it with a bunch of crap add-ons so that your web browser can interface with the game. So not only do you need to use origin… no thats not good enough… you also have to install a bunch of crap onto your web browser as well… because apparently its too simple and easy to just start the game and do everything from in game menus like it has been done in every other game prior to BF3.

      I would love to sell BF3 or maybe even give it to a friend… but i can’t even do that because they forcibly tied it my damn origin account! Granted i don’t use the account for anything and BF3 is the only game on it… Granted i COULD just someone the entire account technically, but even still i don’t want someone having my account with my username on it… Seriously if i could i would have sold that damn game to someone else within the first week of having it. Ever since then i have refused ANYTHING made by EA.

      • LastQuestion
      • 7 years ago

      Not exactly sure why people hate Origin still. The service doesn’t run unless I start playing BF3. I like having all my games on Steam and all, but, for one game that basically auto-launches everything when you decide to play, it really just doesn’t matter. I can get over needing a second game service to play BF3, even other games, simply because playing those games is fun enough to where depriving myself of the experience by nerdraging over something so trivial seems silly.

        • trackerben
        • 7 years ago

        He’s not just complaining like many others about EA’s origin internet-uptime client, he’s also pointing out the need for browser add-ons just to launch BF3. I am a sometime BF2 fanatic and interested in doing multiplayer BF3 long and hardcore this holiday season. All these forum complaints on annoying prerequisites were concerning enough to delay my getting the game.

        The only good which came of waiting this long is that Premium Edition is now out with all DLC for the same old price. Are you also encountering any browsing issues like he mentioned? I’d like to know if there’s anything in the whole process which ruins the whole experience.

          • LastQuestion
          • 7 years ago

          That plug-in isn’t that big of a deal either. FF is my default browser, but I use Chrome for BF3. There is an issue with 64-bit browsers it seems, where if you start Origin manually it won’t launch BF3 properly. The fix is actually easier to do however. Just let the browser auto-launch Origin and BF3 starts up fine, and continue to do so. Also might be something in my config. Clean installed W764 ~2wks ago and have different codecs installed…and, those can be messy.

          I don’t much care for needing a browser for BF3 but it doesn’t impede my ability to enjoy playing BF3. I can understand some people want to keep their game library in one place, and they want to let EA know with their wallet. Their choice. But to attack Origin as a terrible service when it’s so transparent. I mean, typically as gamers we’re willing to put up with some sort of BS in order to play a game. Just look at Skyrim and it’s terrible engine/glitches. That impedes the ability to enjoy the game far more than being forced to use a browser to launch a game. Yet, tons of people enjoyed playing it regardless, because it was still fun.

          I really think people have blown this out of proportion. It’s not as if any of the services prevent you from enjoying the game. You open a browser, select a server, and hit join, Origin and BF3 then auto-launch, and then you’re IG. There’s even benefits to this. While the game is loading you can continue to browse for servers, or do w/e, because you’re still at your desktop. It’s not a bad way of doing things, it’s not terrible, it doesn’t prevent you from enjoying the game…unless you let it. Unless you care about something not worth caring about you can enjoy BF3. I mean, ffs, seriously, there are BETTER THINGS to care about. Just chill out, enjoy the game, and save your energy for things that actually matter.

            • trackerben
            • 7 years ago

            So your experience is that only one plug-in is required and after internet logon via browser there are no further initialization issues, at least with Chrome. Well, that tells me maybe I should install Chrome just for autolaunching BF3 if and only if FireFox has issues.

            BF2 / Special Forces was a hairball from the beginning. And not only with all the hackfestation on its multiplayer servers. It was known to fail launch after certain updates, for gameplay balance fixes which only messed things further, was prone to clipping and map issues (although apparently not as much as in Skyrim). Desperate players were resorting to full-clean game reinstalls from 1.0x with updates in sequence. I remember that to resolve authentication issues, EA support were recommending all kinds of registry and cd-key verifiers and even requesting revalidation of accounts. This was the first time in many years that I gave in and sought official game support, and I never did get full answers even so.

            But after all that BF2 multiplayer was and still is well worth playing. Kharkand and Sharqi infantry-only and Kubra, Daqing, Dalian air-ground are maps legendary for sheer scale of strategy or noobery. These are the in-game experiences we care for so much that we come to tolerate all external issues. If BF3 is anywhere near as good I fully intend to get past them and enjoy no matter what.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 7 years ago

      Amazon’s Android app store is awful. Just awful. The software is slow, unresponsive, and on a dual-core phone with 1GB of memory even. The free app of the day keeps it on my phone, but I hate using it.

      • BobbinThreadbare
      • 7 years ago

      I’ve had the exact opposite experience with Amazon’s software sales.

      Well I haven’t bought any Droid programs from them.

      But the games I’ve bought contain no additional DRM, just what the publisher requires and includes (often Steam or Origin). It comes with software keys which are easy to find and in many cases work on Steam (my distributor of choice usually).

    • albundy
    • 7 years ago

    Aaaarrrrgggghhhh? Avast Ye!

      • thanatos355
      • 7 years ago

      Indeed, good sir, indeed.

    • Deanjo
    • 7 years ago

    [quote<]They seem to employ nearly every slimy tactic possible. They refuse to fix simple bugs, instead requiring users to upgrade to new versions to get fixes. They scramble their interfaces to make programs seem "new" from one rev to the next, nuking usability and wasting our time in the process. They bundle all sorts of things we don't want with the software we do. On and on.[/quote<] Win 8

      • MadManOriginal
      • 7 years ago

      [url<]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTSA_sWGM44[/url<]

        • sweatshopking
        • 7 years ago

        +1

      • Malphas
      • 7 years ago

      I knew someone was going to say that, childishly ignoring the fact the UI has remained consistent for almost two decades so they can shoehorn in yet another out-of-context complaint about Windows 8.

      • Waco
      • 7 years ago

      This. So very much this.

      For laughs I went into the Microsoft store at the mall yesterday. Ignoring the fact that the sales people descended upon me like hungry wolves and continually bug me with a new salesperson every time I said “no, I’m fine, just looking around” to the one currently talking with me…Windows 8 on even the “best” platform (Aspire S7) made me want to throw the damn laptop across the room.

      • WaltC
      • 7 years ago

      Yea, gosh…;) Microsoft is so slimy…geez, we only had to pay $90 for Win 7 HP and *look* what Microsoft wants to charge us for Win8 Pro (equivalent in feature availability to the $249 Vista Ultimate I bought)! Microsoft wants to charge us $39.99! The scumbags! Those evil (pronounced eeveel) people! How dare they!? And Media Center goes along with it for FREE! Can you imagine that crap? We’re really smart people to steer well-clear of deals like that. Yesiree. Ugh.

      The following should be running on the banners of the Internet’s premiere tech web sites:

      [i<] Stay as far away from Windows 8 Pro as you can while it's on sale! Be smart, be cool, be emulated: buy Windows 8 Pro on February 2, 2013! Tell 'em Mr. Goodguy Saintly(TM) sent 'ya!...[/i<] I was stupid yesterday and bought Win8 Pro x64 and Media Center for $39.99 (and no I don't mean "~$39.99" or "$39.99 + taxes and fees." I mean precisely $39.99...;)) What a 'tard. I can't even look myself in the mirror for being putty in the hands of Eeveel. I am to Microsoft as Chamberlain was to Hitler. Whip me, spank me, punish me, [i<]excoriate me.[/i<] Purge me of all such unrighteousness! I am unclean...I am perverse...I am wicked...I am maligned...I am.......... ....very pleased with my purchase thus far. Yes, uh-huh...Pleased, I tell you! (There is naught else that I can say to such distinguished morons as yourselves...;)) ___________________________ However, I have to agree with Scott about Corel. My last experience with the company--or rather the reputed ex-cons who bought the name and now sell digital junk out of a 'Flagellant Nunnery and Monk's Winery Club', whatever that is--was enough to last me forever and a day. Anyway....we must educate ourselves as the fact is that nobody will represent our interests as well as we ourselves. Caveat Emptor. It'll never go out of style.

    • xeridea
    • 7 years ago

    I manage a website that uses the Interspire shopping cart. If something is broken on their side, you must like $500 for renewed support, and to download new version that fixes said major bug.

    • south side sammy
    • 7 years ago

    do I dare ask ?……… why does Microsoft keep coming out with new operating systems ?

    • Welch
    • 7 years ago

    Adobe Acrobat…. screw them. They want WAAAAAAAAAY too much money for their software that others do the same for 50-60 bucks. On top of that they mislead people with their version and features, then to top it all off they too try to have you pay extra to send out a copy of the software as a “Backup” option. Its checked by default. The worst is their misrepresentation of the software only costing $99 bucks!!! Yea… if your upgrading from a previous version that has to be with in the last few years.

    AutoCAD – Add it to the list, they want ridiculous amounts of money for their software, understandable that it would be high as its a specific piece of software only used by so many people… but you pay $1499 for the upgrade version and its the upgrade LITE, and they only give you something like 30 or 90 days of “complimentary” support. Otherwise you have to shell out 100’s of more dollars to get support on their $1000+ software…….. WOW, way to stiff your customers.

    Cisco – Yeah, I know they are hardware but have you ever tried updating their PIX or ASA firewalls? Christ, you have to pay them something like $400 bucks for support which is REQUIRED if you want to get any of their firmware updates. The device doesn’t even cost $400! OK, that’s bad, but to make matter worse, when you buy an ASA from say… Newegg or CDW, they provide a “Complimentary” support and updates for about 30 days. That 30 days starts not from when you buy it from Newegg, but from when Newegg bought it from them…. TISK TISK. Refuse to buy Cisco items if I can avoid them. They know they have some markets by the balls.

      • kitsura
      • 7 years ago

      Fortinet charges for their firmware upgrades too. At least it includes hardware swap and technical support coverage. I guess the only redeeming factor is their hardware is no way as expensive as Cisco. I will never pay for anything Cisco branded cause it’s overpriced.

    • Shambles
    • 7 years ago

    Intuit actually aren’t as evil as they seem. They run mint.com which, for me at least, is better than their paid for product. Mint.com allows you to track all of your finances for free. While I’m sure they data-mine you I have no doubt that they do that with Quicken as well.

    But yes, the professional software market seems almost as dirty as the games market for this stuff.

      • BIF
      • 7 years ago

      In the last several versions of Quicken, there have been some fairly serious bugs. Lost data, duplicated data, broken connectivity to banking institutions, and worse. And it takes 6+ months for anything to be fixed.

      Intuit tech support is polite, but due to the language differences, they never really truly seem to understand the problem I’m having and therefore are never able to help. Quicken is up to $100 a year now so I am starting to look for Quicken alternatives. If I jump, I may jump off the Turbotax ship too.

        • Deanjo
        • 7 years ago

        [quote<]Lost data[/quote<] Ahhh yes, how I remember the Quicken 2007 update that deleted OS X users desktops well. I will give intuit this however, when that happened and they realized it they contacted Apple and said to have every effected user call Intuit where they would attempt to recover the data if they didn't reboot or send the hard drive off for data recovery or compensated their user for the loss.

    • Shambles
    • 7 years ago

    [quote<][b<]Why does this situation persist in 2012?[/b<] Don't just say greed: most companies eventually realize being actively hostile to customers is bad policy. At times, it feels like the major PC makers and software firms both are enaged in some sort of suicide pact. This can't end well for, uh, non-walled gardens. Can it?[/quote<] Because people like you support it?

      • odizzido
      • 7 years ago

      What you said is 100% true. But people don’t want to hear the truth so you got downvoted by someone.

      The only way companies can do stuff like what is being described is because people let them walk all over them. Stop being such pushovers and it will stop happening.

        • thanatos355
        • 7 years ago

        I want to keep this civil. So instead of my gut reaction, I’m going to just just say “horsefeathers!”

        Individual consumer purchases (or lack thereof) will make absolutely zero difference to big business policy. You would have to find enough like-minded patrons to demonstrate (with their wallets) their distaste for said policies. Enough so that it makes it fiscally irresponsible for businesses executives to continue behaving in such a reprehensible manner.

        I applaud the spirit of what you’re saying, but to believe it does any good at all to blame an individual consumer for a single purchase is just…well…horsefeathers.

        ~edit~
        Typos.

          • Shambles
          • 7 years ago

          What you are saying is there is no point in even trying unless you are going to win at whatever you’re trying to do.

          You can’t have an avalanche without individual snowflakes.

            • thanatos355
            • 7 years ago

            More like that there’s no point in standing in the way of the avalanche, it’s just going to bury you anyway.

            If you don’t like a company’s policies, by all means, go somewhere else. Just don’t expect that one “lost sale” (fuzzy logic in and of itself) to influence the company you rejected in any way.

            People are mentioning AutoCAD and Acrobat on here. There’s a reason that they charge so much for their products. Because they are industry standards and you [b<][i<][u<]have[/b<][/i<][/u<] to use them if you work in one of those areas. Those industries are made up of BIG companies that do huge volume (think about the millions of Win8 licenses sold). It doesn't matter to them if the software is $5 or $5,000 a seat, they have to have it and they write it off at the end of the year anyway. [b<][i<][u<]Those[/b<][/i<][/u<] are the lost sales that these companies feel. If you can't pull that kind of clout, you're merely relying on their benevolence. ~edit~ Darn typos. <_<

            • MadManOriginal
            • 7 years ago

            [quote<]they write it off at the end of the year anyway[/quote<] I immediately thought of this... [url<]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rCZRqH7sRyA[/url<] (FYI - you're Kramer)

            • Damage
            • 7 years ago

            Yeah, Shambles has a kernel of truth embedded in a turd of an argument.

            Granted, buying software from shady companies isn’t ideal. But if consumers were only “people like me,” software companies wouldn’t find these shady practices rewarding. I don’t buy “download insurance.” I just recently gave up on Acronis for backups when they wouldn’t patch TrueImage 2012 to work with Win8, instead requiring users to upgrade to TrueImage 2013. I refuse to reward such behavior.

            What’s more, I infrequently upgrade. Have used PaintShop Pro for something like 15 years and have only used four versions. Even my upgrade yesterday was a Cyber Week special over 50% off list.

            And our entire website infrastructure runs on free, open-source software.

            That said, I do have work to do. I can’t afford not to participate in the PC software market, and I can’t reasonably be expected to alter my workflow to encompass 3-5 different free software programs to duplicate the functionality of one fairly robust product.

            The thing is, the “buy/don’t buy” dichotomy doesn’t give consumers the granularity of choice needed to send the proper message, which is: do make powerful software, but please, stop with the crappy practices.

            Most folks are aware of the problem and dislike the situation as it has been, which is one of the reasons why buying an iPad and jumping into Apple’s walled garden, with rules against many of these shady practices, feels like liberation for a lot of people. Everybody in the PC ecosystem needs to understand why that’s a problem, and they need to quit blaming the average consumer for problems he had no significant role in creating. “Expert users” like PC enthusiasts, who mix smug abrasiveness with a certain pride in navigating through the sewage pit that is the PC software market, spend way too much time blaming the victims rather than the perpetrators, whether it’s shady software sales practices or malware infections. Shambles here is exhibit A. Meanwhile, the average user is looking for an exit, even if it means going for a walled garden and giving up certain freedoms in the process. That’s deeply unfortunate.

            • yokem55
            • 7 years ago

            [quote<]"Expert users" like PC enthusiasts, who mix smug abrasiveness with a certain pride in navigating through the sewage pit that is the PC software market, spend way too much time blaming the victims rather than the perpetrators, whether it's shady software sales practices or malware infections. Shambles here is exhibit A. Meanwhile, the average user is looking for an exit, even if it means going for a walled garden and giving up certain freedoms in the process. That's deeply unfortunate.[/quote<] It seems to me that companies with a solid, compelling product without a lot of free or cheap and easy competition and a growing customer base don't need to resort to such smarmy sales tactics to make the profit margins they need to survive and thrive. Companies that face substantial competition from free/cheap or open source competition ultimately are relying on the inertia of users like you who aren't interested in or aren't in a position to be able to make changes in how they work and when they have such a paying customer in front of them they will go after every possible bit of revenue while they are at it because they probably aren't growing their customer base anymore. So ultimately, you have to pay the piper some how - either in your time in terms of adapting to new tools, in money with shenanigans as above, or in your liberties when you let someone else limit and restrict the platform on which you work in the name of your security. You choose.

            • LoneWolf15
            • 7 years ago

            Amen on Acronis, btw. Stopped in 2011.

            • bwcbiz
            • 7 years ago

            The other point of attack on this issue is on the investment side. One reason they do these shady practices is to bring their profit margins into the unrealistic realms that Wall Street and the institutional investors still expect.

            Of course, the average investor has about just as much leverage as the average consumer (i.e., infinitesimally > 0), but if you have the clout of being a shareholder, you can use it. Go to a shareholders meeting and ask how much extra income is generated by those practices, and whether they’ve considered the loss in good will in evaluating them. If you present your case in a way that makes big investors take notice, then THEY will start asking questions. And just like with big corporate customers, the companies will pay attention to the big guys.

            • My Johnson
            • 7 years ago

            That last paragraph is one of the best arguments for liberalism I’ve read in a long time.

          • lilbuddhaman
          • 7 years ago

          I agree, and I see the problem being that certain people (management) are usually a certain kind of people (idiots) with a certain kind of training (All hail big brother) with a certain kind of attitude (buzz words!) towards those who refuse to accept the “standard” (A yes man will replace you).

          The “do’ers” of the world need to stop letting the “organizers” of the world control them.

          (and like thanatos I’m sure my statement is highly flawed and I probably don’t convey my point exactly how I want to, but meh, whatever)

      • Kougar
      • 7 years ago

      Hate to say it, but he’s right. As long as it still works people will continue to do it. Just look at the email spam & fishing industry…

      • bjm
      • 7 years ago

      It’s not what you say, but how you say it. </mom>

    • chuckula
    • 7 years ago

    [quote<]All I really wanted was to import RAW files from my camera and adjust the white balance easily.[/quote<] I don't know if these packages fit your needs, but there's no need to put up with games from a software vendor that wants you locked in to its products: Digikam: [url<]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5AUHhpuVopI[/url<] Or Darktable: [url<]http://tutorialgeek.blogspot.com/2011/07/lightroom-vs-darktable-raw-photo.html[/url<]

      • willmore
      • 7 years ago

      Rawtherapee: [url<]http://rawtherapee.com/[/url<] ufraw: [url<]http://ufraw.sourceforge.net/[/url<] Or, if you've got a canon camera, just get their free tools

        • Damage
        • 7 years ago

        raw the what?!?

          • chuckula
          • 7 years ago

          Raw the Rapee. I’m not sure that’s appropriate though.

          • Flatland_Spider
          • 7 years ago

          They’ve spelled therapy as therapee. RawTherapee == RawTherapy.

            • Damage
            • 7 years ago

            Maybe not the best idea?

            • MadManOriginal
            • 7 years ago

            “Mr Connery, why don’t you pick?”

            “It looks like this is my lucky day. I’ll take The Rapists for 200.”

            “That’s ‘Therapists’…that’s, that’s ‘Therapists’, not ‘The Rapists’…”

            • derFunkenstein
            • 7 years ago

            The day is mine!

            or, alternatively: [url<]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UrIpPqcln6Y[/url<]

    • mikehodges2
    • 7 years ago

    Is that ‘download insurance’ even legal? How can they insure for something that’s freely replaceable (assuming you dont lose your key, but that’s not what it said, right?)

      • thanatos355
      • 7 years ago

      The undercoating is where they really get ya.

      • just brew it!
      • 7 years ago

      As long as they provide the service claimed (access to the download), I don’t see why it would be illegal. There’s no guarantee that the free version his license key is capable of unlocking will remain available in the future (e.g. after the next release comes out), so there’s possibly some small value to this “service” for people who don’t back their stuff up.

      I agree it’s extremely slimy though. You’re paying an extra $10 for something the company should be doing anyway…

      • LostCat
      • 7 years ago

      I know EADM used to offer that but I believe it’s DigitalRiver trickery rather than something anyone ever actually needed.

      I’ve seen it with many other application purchases as well, never accepted it.

      • Squeazle
      • 7 years ago

      You can still sell snake oil. You just have to label it as a multi-vitamin and make sure the FDA never investigates that particular thing.

      You can sell anything. As long as there isn’t a regulatory body watching over you. And even then, kidneys sell pretty well on the black market I hear.

    • Krogoth
    • 7 years ago

    The future of professional software?

    Micro-transactions, micro-transactions everywhere…….

      • chuckula
      • 7 years ago

      I’m dropping $5.99 on new girders so I can unlock the next AutoCAD Achievement!

        • Krogoth
        • 7 years ago

        LMAO,

        Call of Duty: Modern Engineering……

          • ClickClick5
          • 7 years ago

          Black Ops 3: $9.99

          EVERY MAP (including single player), $3.99 each.
          EVERY gun, $2.99 each.
          EVERY kill streak perk, $5.99 each.
          EVERY secondary weapon, $1.99 each.
          EVERY perk, .99 cents each.
          EVERY game mode, $14.99.

          Let the money flow. Let it flow.

            • tygrus
            • 7 years ago

            #12 Black Ops 3:

            How many maps guns etc ? Can you please multiply the number of options with their cost for a TOTAL cost ?

          • stupido
          • 7 years ago

          LOL 🙂
          a good one…

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