Microsoft: Boxed Software Gone 'Within a Decade'

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft says it expects to phase out boxed software within the next decade or so. The firm feels confident that, over the course of the next ten years, people will become more comfortable with downloading their favorite software.

"We think subscription software-as-a-service is the future," Microsoft noted in a recent blog on its official Office website. "Within a decade, we think everyone will choose to subscribe because the benefits are undeniable." (Source:

Subscription-based Office 365: A Sign of What's to Come

Microsoft has already initiated the process of moving away from boxed software by offering consumers Office 365, a cloud-only version of its popular Office business suite.

Rather than pay a one-time fee, Office 365 users have the option of paying subscription fees for their software.

The advantage of such a system: it's constantly updated, meaning the software is built to withstand technical problems and hacker attacks.

And Microsoft certainly isn't the only firm headed in this direction. Adobe recently announced plans to phase out its Creative Suite software package and focus more on developing the Creative Cloud subscription-based service. (Source:

In the world of video games, in which Microsoft is playing an increasingly bigger role, physical media is also slowly being phased out by digital distribution platforms like Xbox Live.

Cost, Security Concerns Remain

Of course, not everyone will appreciate this trend. Many consumers like having physical media handy in case of a web connection issue.

There are also concerns that extending cloud integration makes Windows 8 more vulnerable to attack by hackers.

Finally, signing up for an Office 365 subscription can result in higher fees -- even though one would expect to pay less.

"Cost of ownership is far lower for me buying Office, rather than subscribing," one commenter noted on Microsoft's Office website. "So long as that remains so, I will continue to buy."

Unfortunately, that option may no longer exist in a few years' time.

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