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Forced software sales?

12 March 2018

How do you force customers to upgrade their software?

Simple, you cause their existing, store-bought and paid for version to crash repeatedly, as soon as the next version is released.

I've been a long-time user of Sony's video editing software. Originally, this software was developed by Sony under the Vegas name as a professional editing suit with a host of pretty cool features and functionality.

The professional product was out of my reach but, when they decided to offer a slightly cut-down "consumer" version called Movie Studio, I jumped at the chance to throw US$79 at them and buy a copy.

Ever since then I've paid my $49 to upgrade when a new version came along with extra features that I wanted and I've been a happy camper.

However, a couple or three years ago, Sony sold this software and its development rights to a company called Magix.

The last upgrade (to version 14) was released by Magix and I purchased it from them.

Sadly, it broke a few of the really nice features I had enjoyed up until that point, such as GPU-accelerated rendering and it was more inclined to crash... but only once or twice a month so that was okay.

Version 15 of this software was released by Magix a couple of weeks ago and I've been keeping an eye on what others have to say about it before upgrading.

It is clear from this thread on the manufacturer's support forums, that V15 has some real problems right now and there's no rush of people wanting to spend money on the upgrade.

Apparently this new version screws up many of the older version's plug-ins and it has a significant bug that causes very, very slow loading of projects because it takes forever to render thumbnails for video files. In short, there are people asking for their money back and very, very few happy users.

Could it be that the resistance to upgrading has forced Magix to engage in some covert skulduggery by way of crippling the previous version and thus forcing an upgrade? Or is an accidental crippling that results from their obvious ineptitude and intolerable lack of testing? Well there are others who have found their copy of V14 has simply stopped working with the release of V15 as well.

Now I was going to simply sit around and wait for these problems to get resolved -- until yesterday when something happened that has guaranteed I will never deal with this company again.

Now, whenever I start my store-bought, registered, previously "working just fine" copy of Movie Maker Platinum V14, I get a pop-up window that invites me to upgrade to V15. Okay, that's just an annoyance and can be dismissed with the click of a mouse -- but it seems that either by accident or design, something a lot more insidious is going on here as well.

I say that because now, my V14 crashes all over the place, especially when trying to render any non-trivial project.

I've tried rebooting, running "clean" (without other applications active), checking the file-system for corruption, etc and nothing helps.

Just for shirts and giggles, I figured I'd try simply disconnecting my network cable from this machine before starting V14.

Well knock me down with a feather... the program starts (without the annoying pop-up window that begs me to buy the new version) and works perfectly.

Plug the network cable back in, restart, and the pop-up returns, as does the inability to render non-trivial projects.

Let's get things quite clear... the license for this program is not an annual one, it is a one-time license in perpetuity so the release of a new version does not invalidate it, nor is upgrading compulsory -- other than that Magix seems to have (by error or design) added some code that effectively cripples this machine if it's connected to the Net when the software is started.


So, as I said... Magix will not be getting another red cent out of me and, if this is a widespread issue, I suspect a good many others will also be jumping ship -- if the newly introduced bugs aren't enough to encourage such infidelity.

So now I'm faced with a steep learning curve to shift to another editing program but, on the bright side, I have found Davinci Resolve, a fantastic editing program that has far more features, functions and power than Movie Studio anyway. And believe it or not, the version which will perform just about everything I need to do is free. WTF?

However, if it lives up to the claims made for it (both by the writers and users) then I'll gladly part with NZ$500 to buy the professional edition.

Take that Magix, you bastards!

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