What won't we own in 10 years?

Following on from yesterday’s blog post about FileMaker licensing, I got to thinking. How much do we actually own any more?

You can now own FileMaker and pay monthly (you need to buy at least 5 copies of FileMaker client). It’s a really easy way of spreading out the cost of ownership - it removes a cash-flow ‘hit’ that would normally have quite an impact on smaller businesses that would occur when buying FileMaker outright.

FileMaker isn’t alone of course in offering this purchasing model. Many do: two very notable companies also now charge for some of their products similarly: Adobe’s Creative Suite can be ‘rented’ and of course, Microsoft’s Office 365 works on an annual subscription.

At a higher level, the rise of the cloud and its XaaS model (where ‘X’ might be ’S’ for software, ‘P’ for platform and so forth) really brought a revolution in software procurement, with users paying a regular stipend for the privilege of using computing power in one form or another. This payment model has now percolated down to the consumer computing arena.

Last week saw the news that downloads of music and films from iTunes had actually fallen - the first time since the service’s introduction. We now rent films (sorry, movies) online via iTunes and other services and many of us stream music from Spotify and the like. No longer do we rush out to buy DVDs or CDs, but nor do we buy media online to own outright.

Additionally, subscriptions to online TV services like LoveFilm & NetFlix are on the up. Media is streamed, ephemeral, to us on demand rather than collected and stacked as possessions on a shelf.

One of life’s small joys, the nosing-through of someone’s CD collection, has been taken from us (or was that just me?).

I wonder what else we’ll pay for, using regular small amounts instead of a one-off hit? In a more connected world, and more importantly, in a world where we seem to have an insatiable desire to have stuff, to lease/hire/borrow may become the norm.

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