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Personally renting software (SAAS) as it's often called is set to be the main business model. Many people find it easier to pay a small monthly fee then a big up-front fee like Adobe used to charge ($699+ OUCH!).
If you are a software provider you can try getting setup on a cloud-friendly instant setup platform such as offered by most web hosting providers now. Here are a few resources:
Rentalsoftwaredirectory.com - directory of places you can get rental software from many of whom offer pay per month type plans.
Rental-e-commerce-software.com - provider of rental booking software
I think companies like Microsoft and ESRI pushing software rental underlines their postion that you only buy the right to use the software. I believe this enhances the case for Open Software and will cause many users to convert to Linux or at least to open source office applications such as LibreOffice and MapWindow. There are a growing number of people who want fewer dependencies rather than more. Concerns about privacy and control will drive many away from MS-Cloudware. If you onlu use a text editor once in awhile a pay as you go account that you use on some sort of pad or netbook might be alright but I like a lot of control over my applications and environment so I'll stick with local storage of the operating system and main applications.
It's a terrible idea. Companies used to update their computers and software every 5 years, and that's the time period that the IRS uses when amortizing the life of computer hardware over time. So financially it's a burden. But even worse, to upgrade your software constantly, whether through a desktop software download or through a cloud office login, means users will LOSE productivity as the vendor changes stuff around on them. There was NO REASON for Microsoft to move the location of the File menu, and the choices for NEW, OPEN, SAVE, CLOSE, and EXIT. Changing the environment on non-technical users generates a lot of extra work for IT, and the only one who benefits is Microsoft.
But the whole point behind Cloud Computing is to deploy apps once on your app server, then have all the users authenticate against their account to have access to all the apps they need, without having to load programs directly on their physical computer. All updates are handled behind the scene, so users don't have to hassle with waiting for stuff to update when they just want to get back to work. Microsoft Office 365 is basically their cloud computing interface for all the programs in the office suite, plus Lync and Sharepoint -- which means they've finally got a decent "software rental" program which I think is still in beta. Although renting software is an unfamiliar concept, it might just catch on - if the price isn't ridiculously high.
It depends on how much you need the software and how much it ends up costing you. Microsoft has wanted to get into the software rental scheme for years, because it means more of their customers will be using the newest software and not plugging away with ancient versions of office. But we already pay a monthly cable bill and monthly cellular bill - who wants to also pay a monthly Microsoft bill?