5 ways to save on your monthly software rental bill in the year 2056

Software bills got you down? Here at Intellectual Property Magazine (championing intellectual investment since 2012!), our studies show that the share of an average household's budget for software rental has increased from 10% to 23% from 2040 to 2056. Today our experts will share* some money-saving ideas!

*Please note a licensing fee of $50 for initial use of the ideas in this list, and an ongoing monthly charge of $5.

Did you know?

Did you know there used to be a "free" software movement? It was made up of people who believed that software should be free to use and copy without restrictions. These people actually argued that patents and intellectual property laws would hinder innovation.

Fortunately, this was a short-lived movement. The Intellectual Property Advancement Convention, signed by over 120 countries in 2014, retroactively granted 100-year software patents for existing software ideas and effectively ended the damaging effects of the free software ideology. The ideas presented in this article demonstrate the abundant creativity that is fostered when innovation is protected.


Microsoft Office is one of the biggest budget items for the families we surveyed. We all appreciate the work that Microsoft did back in the 1980s and 1990s to develop this important suite of applications and we cheerfully acknowledge that they should be perpetually rewarded for it. But let's face it, we'd like to save some money on this line item.

Microsoft has developed an innovative way to help you manage your Office costs. "Office-Share" is patent pending, and we should all give thanks to the enduring patent system that provides a fertile environment for new ideas such as this one. With Office-Share, you no longer have to pay rent on those times of day when you're not using the software. You can now share a full subscription with other households!

For example, you might sign up for the nightly 7-8pm slot so that little Bobby can write his report before bedtime, while Ms. Smith next door signs up for the 8-9pm slot to work on her novel. (Let's hope she properly licenses those story idea patents!) You can realize further savings by signing up for the graveyard shift. Fees drop by as much as half for the 2-4am time period. A great deal for you night owls out there!

Can you imagine?

It may be hard to imagine now, but free software once presented a real danger to innovation in Office software. Competing free office suites such as the copycat OpenOffice.org could have put a halt to new ideas from the Microsoft corporation, had it become unfeasible to sell this kind of software for hundreds of dollars per license.


RealPlayer is much appreciated for its deep integration with the Windows operating system and for advertising its availability prominently. It also serves as a good example of innovative partnering between two companies. We're happy that Real's monopoly on streaming video enables them to profit from all their good work and focus on future improvements, but still, we'd like to save some money on the use of this great product.

And just as Microsoft has done with Office, Real has stepped up to the plate with a creative offering. For an additional charge of $5 per month (stay with us here!), you will be entered in a drawing for a three month discount on your rental rates, for a total savings of $100! One out of fifteen entries will be a winner. All it takes is one drawing per year to save money, and you have twelve opportunities to win!


Everybody's favorite compression program is WinZip, but unfortunately some people don't seem to appreciate the value it delivers when they begrudge the standard $20 per month licensing fee. We were surprised that many people are unaware of great opportunities for saving already built in to the product. The monthly rental fee includes unlimited use at the standard compression level, but if you choose a faster setting with less compression, you can save up to $6 per month.


Yes! A 30% reduction in your monthly bill for a program that runs faster! It's difficult now to imagine a time when the state of the art in software licensing was a one time charge for a single version of a program. (And let's not even mention again the absurd "free" license foolishness!)

Clearly, the 2015 IP Advancement Convention has served us well.


Boy, are we embarrassed about this one. We had a great money-saving idea that could have saved you tens of dollars a year, but we found out late in the publication cycle that we failed to license it properly. Negotiations for publication rights were not concluded in time and we can only offer this apology in its place.

We have extensive IP review procedures here at IPM, and we are currently investigating how 150 hours of due diligence on permitted-use clearance for this article could have resulted in such an oversight. It's likely that we'll be able to offer the idea to you at a later time for a small additional fee.


Reconsider: should your goal be to save on software rental at all? Remember, if we don't pay companies enough money, we won't see continued advancement in software innovation. Think about it: in 2006, WinZip was on version 10. Today it's up to version 84, and WinZip International LLC is still innovating strongly thanks to the recent licensing of One-Click Installation from Microsoft.

We ask you:

Does your son or daughter really need braces? Do you really think you're going to be able to retire someday? Perhaps you should save less and spend more!


I already hawked this one last week, but for a similarly silly tale of software licensing, patents, and DRM gone awry, please visit the Moving to Freedom web site at http://www.movingtofreedom.org for my science fiction story, Picnic. More recently, an oldie-but-a-goodie quote from Thomas Jefferson.


Reusable with this attribution, and please note if modifications are made: Copyright © Scott Carpenter, 2006. Originally published in Free Software Magazine. Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License (CC-BY-SA-2.5).


Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article are permitted worldwide, without royalty, in any medium, provided this notice is preserved.