How to save money wisely
Discount software is virtually the same as cheap software. For the most part, vendors sell software at a discount because it has been made essentially obsolete with the advent of newer versions and newer models.
For example (at the time of this writing, in early 2006) you will be able to find Adobe Photoshop version 8.0 at a discount price, as Photoshop 9 has been out for some time. Software for Windows XP will be offered at a discount with the advent of Windows Vista.
If you do buy software like this, the software will still work great. It will actually be very versatile; it will be able to do many things that you cannot do with other cheap software; it will last you a long time to come. Windows 98 was still useful and usable for many applications, in 2005.
In other cases, vendors will offer discount software simply because of overstock. They may have overestimated the demands for a certain kind of software, and they went out and stocked up on it.
In the worst cases, vendors are selling software that has been stolen or pirated.
The best advice that we can give you in this area is:
- Query the vendor for reasons they might have for offering a discount on the software if the reason isn't readily apparent. Some specious explanations would include special deals with the publisher, and acquisitions through bankruptcies.
- Check the licensing numbers of the software and query manufacturers (Microsoft, McAfee, Adobe, etc.) concerning whether or not those numbers are registered.
- Be sure that they offer a guarantee and/or return policy on the software and who make no promises about following up after the transaction.
Buying software offered with a group discount (for teachers, for example) is a legitimate, intelligent way to save money.Some other things to beware of with companies advertising cheap software:
- Software products with specious looking (photocopies?) packaging, graphics, etc., and who over-aggressively defend the software against illegitimacy.
- Discount software vendors online who are unwilling to identify themselves or provide you with a physical address.
Supporting software piracy costs everyone in the long run. If it sounds too good to be true, it likely is.