Let’s face it. Technology has moved humankind into a different model for using technology; one where ownership of what we think we bought has become suspect, an era rentals and leases are the new norm.
THe most recent example is Microsoft. The Windows maker gave up and closed the company’s digital bookstore; an anemic version of Apple’s Books store and Amazon’s eBook store.
Michael Kozlowski explained the dilemma and the inherent problem with renting technology:
Microsoft closed their digital bookstore and customers have lost access to all of the ebooks they paid for
Microsoft did the right thing and issued refunds to customers. What about their books? They’re gone. What happened?
Things change. Microsoft’s eBook store just didn’t make it and faced stiff competition from Amazon and Kindle. Even Apple’s own Books eBook store pales by comparison in the electronic marketplace.
We have entered an era where why we buy does not come with ownership.
Look at the iOS and Mac App Stores. Applications come with ongoing subscription price tags. We are renting the software we use. Adobe and Microsoft made that method mainstream. Adobe’s Creative Cloud suite of apps is about $50 per month. Stop paying the rental fee and the apps will not work. Microsoft’s Office has a similar model. Pay by the month to use apps on every platform, but stop paying and there is nothing to use.
The eBook experience explains how we use the technology and how we feel about it:
People’s sense of psychological ownership is affected by three primary factors: whether they feel as if they have control over the object they own, whether they use the object to define who they are, and whether the object helps give them a sense of belonging in society.
It’s official. I worry about renting vs. owning. While I keep Photos masters on my Macs and have them backed up, there are copies on iCloud, Amazon S3, and many additional files on Dropbox.
Maybe I’m a bit paranoid, but as they say, if everyone is out to get you, then a little paranoia is a good attitude to have.
This growing trend of renting vs. owning has legs. We don’t own apps, we rent them. We don’t own storage, we rent it. We don’t own our books, we rent them. Thanks to Apple Music and Spotify, we don’t own the music we buy, we rent it.
See how that works?
The nature of ownership has slowly morphed into renting. That trend has begun to bother me.