A newsagent called me to discuss my blog post about software companies which block access to some software functions if the annual software support fee is not paid. It is not the first time I had heard a story like his:

I bought the software I use in my newsagency three years ago. My support fees have gone from just over $1,000 a year to $3,500 a year. When I bought the system I was told that support coverage was optional. Now I find out that it is not. I refused to pay the latest support bill because I thought that it was too much for the service provided. The next day I could not access invoices from the magazine companies. They told me they would permit access if I paid my support bill.

Newsagents are being ripped off by software companies which make annual software support fees mandatory. These companies must have poor software or poor support or both. If their software and support were good newsagents would not need to be forced to take the coverage, they would want it.

Newsagents should either refuse to pay support or switch systems. Either way they starve their software supplier of cash. They will eventually get the message.

At Tower Systems, software support has always been optional. This ensures we focus on providing good software backed by timely and professional support.

The newsagent who called me is switching to us. In pure software and support cost terms, he will be better off in less than three years. Beyond the cost, I’d expect him to reap even greater rewards from the decisions our software will help him make than would have been the case.