Software companies are throwing a collective tantrum about unauthorized downloading and use of their products. They accuse downloaders of violating copyrights and stealing their work. Due to the systematic bias in favor of corporations of North American law, the opposite case is rarely made. Namely, software companies are robbing their customers blind. Here are six good reasons not to buy software, ever.
1. No Guarantees
Suppose you buy some new software, and it won’t install (Oblivion), does not work properly (SPSS), does not perform as advertised (MacSpeech Dictate), crashes constantly (Windows), suddenly corrupts its own files (Outlook) or breaks your other software (Symantec Security). Try bringing it back to the store for a refund. “Sorry Sir, we can’t issue a refund if the software’s been opened.” Giving you a replacement disc doesn’t work if it’s the software that’s broken.
2. Time Limits to Support
Where does Microsoft get off not supporting an operating system after a certain arbitrary date? They sure as hell don’t tell you this when you buy it in the first place. I’m not saying they should have to support old products forever – just that they should have to tell you how long the product will be supported when you buy it. And what if the upgrade is not technically superior to the previous version?
3. It just doesn’t work and they charge you to fix it.
Most modern software is absolute garbage. It simply does not do what it’s supposed to do. Software is full of bugs, features that are bugs in disguise, unnecessary complexity, poorly thought-out interactive mechanisms and crucial but missing functionality. Software companies fix the bare minimum, and then expect you to pay for the next version, which fixes SOME of the problems that never should have been there in the first place.
4. Nothing is Secure
Operating systems are to safes as leaky rafts are to nuclear submarines. All modern operating systems, for example, are so littered with holes that angsty teenagers can write viruses that end up costing software users millions of dollars. Most computer security is based on passwords, even though we know damn well that passwords don’t work.
Suppose we have a software company, say Ubersoft that makes some software, say “Doorways,” which I pay good money for. It turns out that Doorways doesn’t work very well, so I waste days of my life screwing around with it, trying to get it to work. Suppose they stop supporting it after a year, because they want me to upgrade. Suppose the “upgrade” barely even fixes half of the debilitating problems that made the original such a headache. Then suppose the system spontaneously corrupts all my family pictures and the videos of my kids, backups and all, and then, due to a well-known but unfixed security hole, someone is able to hack in, steal my identity, and subsequently make off with my life savings. If I sue the software company, I’ll get nothing.
Now suppose that instead of software, it was a new oven that had spontaneously caught fire, due to a known but unfixed electrical issue, and burned my house flat, wiping me out financially and destroying the same family heirlooms. The guys who made the oven would be on the hook for serious damages.
So why the hell aren’t the software companies responsible for the damage inflicted by their products?
Fuck ’em. Power to the Pirate Bay.