Will CRA further encourage subscription models?

Nico Rikken nico.rikken at fsfe.org
Tue Oct 24 06:28:26 UTC 2023

Hey FSFE community,

I really like to hear your points of view on a thought I had.

The Cyber Resilience Act (CRA) is set to require companies to keep
providing updates for the lifetime of a product. That will mean an
increased an continued effort (thus cost) by the vendor.

I expect that this will encourage the practice of subscription models.
In this way the vendor has recurring income and has some control over
the availability of a product or service. Regardless whether these are
SaaS services, physical products products of installable software
applications. Some functionality might be available without using
services, but that would be so limited that it would hardly justify the
purchase and so you are strongly compelled to get the subscription.

For sure the market will allow for different funding model to compete
and it is ultimately up to users to decide. But take the Adobe Creative
Suite as an example; there are now many artists that are bound to
monthly payment to obtain access to access and modify their work. Or
how about the fitness trackers that need a subscription model to access
the data and analysis for which you bought it in the first place.

Personally I think the trend towards subscription models is a negative
one as a user is required to keep paying for continued development and
can not decide to be content with the existing version. Worse is that
proprietary standard and access to data are used as leverage to compel
users to sign up and keep the subscription.

What do you think? Is there are a trend towards subscription models?
How does that affect user freedom? Does the planned CRA encourage the
trend towards subscription models?

Looking forward to your thoughts,
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