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Zoner Photo Studio 14 Pro - Upgrade Policy :o(

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_*_ On 8/21/2012 Bits ran a sale for Zoner 14 Pro. On 10/17/2012 I received an email that version 15 had been released.

The policy stated at Bits for this software was paid future upgrades.

I wrote Zoner staff to ask since it had been less than 60 days will there be a free upgrade.

I received a mail back stating that no free upgrade would be coming, but it is a paid upgrade if I wanted version 15.

I find this a very deceitful way of selling a product. Knowing that in less than 60 days you will be promoting your new version,
Scheduling a sale less than 60 days before a new release is tantamount to knowingly selling an older version, with the thought people will have to pay for an upgrade in a very short amount of time.

I in no way hold Bits accountable to this but I personally believe it to be dishonest, bait-and-switch, type of mindset that sees customers as nothing more than a money stream.

I have sent a mail off to Zoner stating that I will no longer support them or ever spend my money with them again.

There is a much better way to treat customers, and this is an example some of the worst customer support I have seen and personally experienced.
        Oct 18 2012 at 5:27am
DroidLuvr I also thought that future updates were covered, at least for 60-90 days, but I don't think I saved a copy of the policy screen shot...

Did anyone else?
        Oct 18 2012 at 12:34pm
_*_ Here is the telling part of a follow up I received from Zoner.

"We actually do try to be generous within reason in this regard, with numerous highly discounted offers such as the BdJ offer for late-in-cycle purchases, and, indeed, a grace period (sometimes one week, sometimes two), but we do need to draw the line somewhere, and two months is, again, not feasible."

My first post is validated by Zoner's response that they knowingly sold Bits users essentially out-dated software.

I find it hard to believe Zoner calls this "generous" to sell us software they will turn around in less than 60 days and ask new users to pay more if you want to upgrade to the new version.

I also think a 1 to 2 week "grace" period for upgrades is neither grace or generous.

There are too many developers here that sell their products offering Lifetime updates, or offer Bits users the next upgrade due to where the software is its lifecycle.

Zoner had no intent of telling Bits users a new version was due out shortly after the sale, and no intent to be generous in any fashion.

They clearly appear to see Bits user (likely all users) as nothing more than a means to more money.
        Oct 20 2012 at 4:40am
Roger Thomasson So, by this logic, Apple should provide all iPhone 4s customers with a free iPhone 5 if they purchased the 4s ~60 days prior to the 5 release date?
        Oct 20 2012 at 6:04pm
_*_ A physical item vs. a digital download; hmm. When has Apple done such a thing; this is comparing Apples and Oranges (no pun intended). Apples lifecycle is very well known so there is no mystery there. Also, I am sure there is a period to return an item as well. Not so with Zoner it seems.

What I expect is integrity in a developer, not free software. Honesty goes a long way.

The mail back to me clearly shows Zoner absolutely knew what they were doing, and I believe it was calculated as such.

Roger, do you honestly think a 1 to 2 week (it seems they are not sure which) “grace” period is sufficient?

*Dear user, we are sorry to inform you but you purchased 8 to 15 days ago, we cannot honor an upgrade, but you can purchase one.* Sounds a bit silly.
        Oct 20 2012 at 7:09pm
Rick Truell I have to agree with M B here. 1 to 2 weeks isn't a grace period, it's a joke. In my experience, most companies will give a free upgrade to a new version if the previous version was purchased anytime within the previous 6 months. Heck, even Microsoft, well known for screwing over its customers at every possible opportunity, is having a massive grace period for upgrading Win 7 to Win 8. Granted, the upgrade isn't free, but the point is that you get Win 8 at a heavily discounted price if you bought a machine with Win 7 pretty much *anytime* this year...essentially a 10 month grace period.
        Oct 20 2012 at 8:14pm
Roger Thomasson @ M B

Sorry, are you implying that a digital product is somehow less valuable than a physical one!? Am I misunderstanding this?
        Oct 21 2012 at 1:13pm
Roger Thomasson @ Rick

Zoner clearly stated their upgrade policy in many places, included the BDJ page. At what point does the consumer bear responsibility for their own decisions?

Not selling me here ;)
        Oct 21 2012 at 1:15pm
_*_ A physical item is much different than a digital one. Manufacturing, shipping, store fronts, etc. are all part of the Apple deal.

Zoner tweaked the existing code of a program, Apple had to create models, molds, and many other steps I am sure I am unaware of. Test groups, reworking of the product, etc..

Zoner rewrote some code.

Roger, you there are many other vendors here that have given Bits users an assurance of future upgrade because of where a product was in its lifecycle.

Zoner sent a reply to me stating they sold "late-in-cycle purchases" of their software.

Zone used tactics that to me are less than honest.

To be honest, you are not selling, me on how they are the same.
        Oct 21 2012 at 2:12pm
Roger Thomasson I find it surprising that a member of this -- a software community -- would reduce the update cycle to a mere "tweaking of existing code". Clearly we have very different impressions of the blood, sweat, and tears that go into software development, not to mention distribution and marketing.

Yes, Zoner 'rewrote' some code. Are you suggesting that this is a cakewalk? That's it's as simple as changing a few integers and arguments? I know several thousand sleep-deprived software vendors (in the BDJ community alone) that would choke on their dinner if they read this.

And more importantly, if you think major updates are so inconsequential, why on earth are you keen on obtaining the new version? This just doesn't make any sense to me.

Obviously I'm a bit confused by your argument...
        Oct 21 2012 at 8:56pm
_*_ I reduced it as a comparison (trying to keep it short) to a physical product that you brought up as an example how a software upgrade and an new iPhone are alike.

I did not indicate anywhere I was "keen" on obtaining the new version. In fact, I have asked to be removed from Zoner's email list so I never receive any further mail from them.

I would still like to know how your comparison of the iPhone and digital download software are alike, more than simply products for sale that have work put into them.

I would really like to know what you think about vendors here that treat Bits users in radically different manner than Zoner; with respect, and working with users regarding the product they sell?

How can both be of equal value to the Bit community? The difference between Lifetime updates, a free update to the next version compared to a 1 to 2 week “grace” period are not in the same ballpark.

We clearly will not agree, but I have sought to give reason and voice for my position thus far.
        Oct 22 2012 at 2:38am
Roger Thomasson @ M B

I think I've made my points fairly clear :)

Zoner 14 was the product advertised, Zoner 14 was the product you received. That you feel entitled to *MORE* despite the fact that Zoner was transparent with their upgrade policy is -- to me at least -- an obvious case of a customer having cake and wanting to eat it too.

Not trying to be combative, that's just how your argument comes across.

And again, I'm just surprised that you would so quickly devalue our industry and the real, human labor that goes into it simply because you can't hold a piece of software in your hand. Do you feel the same about music? ebooks?
        Oct 22 2012 at 8:20am
_*_ Roger, I like the idea of having cake and actually getting to eat it too. :o) Sounds good to me!

However, in this case I am not looking for anything from Zoner other than honesty and integrity, which I believe was lacking and is non-existent.

Personally, it is a matter of principle; treating others the way you would want to be treated if the roles were reversed.

I in no way devalue software developers as I use may items from them. You know, I own nearly 100 programs through Bits paid and free; so I appreciate the work done by developers.

I am also a person that pays for what I use to support developers in their work.

We may not agree here, but there are certainly more upright developers here that have treated Bits users with much more concern, care, and open honesty.
        Oct 22 2012 at 10:07am
Roger Thomasson I find it utterly bizarre that you feel *entitled* to a grace period!? In my mind those are mutually exclusive ideas.

Please take care when accusing the vendors in this community of dishonest behavior. We don't like that at all and expect more from our customers :(
        Oct 22 2012 at 10:34am
_*_ Roger, I will stop with this post regarding the back and forth with you, so the floor is all yours.

It appears when your point is not being made you resort to distraction, or finding things that are not part of my posts to be the focus. We can go back and forth, but it in no way changes my mind how Zoner sees and treats customers.

The grace period was Zoner's wording not mine.

I actually want nothing from them. In fact I have started the program a total of 1 time since I purchased it. It is about principle.

I in no way "feel" *entitled* to something for free; what I do expect is a company to be honest with customers, and not setup a sale just before your next software version is about to hit the market and then turn around in less than 60 days seek more money from the same users for the new version.

Some may call that good business, good treatment of customers, or something else; I call it deceptive.

You may expect more from Bits customers (i.e. me), but I expect more from the company that receives my money and I hold them to a standard to treat people honestly.

It is about intent, honesty and how a company sees and treats its customers.

You can find something else in my post to make it about, but it will not change the fact of Zoner's mind set toward customers.
        Oct 22 2012 at 11:12am
Roger Thomasson Let me phrase this differently.

Flippant accusations have never been tolerated on BDJ. You simply don't get to throw around "dishonest" without some sort of compelling proof beyond frustration at your own buyers remorse.

If this sounds like a stern warning, good. We'll assume that you (and the rest of the BDJ community) get the point.
        Oct 22 2012 at 11:25am
rodken Wow your comments are unintelligible.

You bought (at a very generous discount) Zoner Photo Studio 14 Pro, and you expect to get 15 Pro for free.

You are surprised that they wanted to make money on their software? (At a discount!).
You are surprised that they upgraded their software? (two whole months after they sold it to you. Not their fault you only used it once in those two months, would it have been a deal if you used it a hundred times?).

I'm seriously sorry that this sounds so rude as I have just read it over (I think the same way sometimes and then I realise..) but you must understand that these companies (Zoner is actually a quality one) create/program digital software (many many hours/days/months even if it's not on a cd/dvd) to make money/make a living/to survive! You will see all those companies that give away free upgrades to their software go out of business or they have to change their name and do it all over again, it's just bad practice.

Last is what you already know, 15 doesn't do anything new but Zoner just "tweaked the existing code" making some things slightly easier/quicker. They are a business, a business that gave you a generous discount on their software! would you have even bothered thinking about it if they didn't?
        Oct 23 2012 at 7:21pm
DrTeeth Zoner is an excellent, friendly and very helpful company.

The OP reminds me of an old patient of a practice I was working in (I'm a dentist) who expected a free filling as the previous one only lasted 10 years! The sort of language that I would have to use to adequately describe that patient's attitude would give Roger a fit, so I'll stay schtum!

DrT
        Oct 28 2012 at 11:25am
Peter Gabriel Well in my experience a six month free upgrade policy has been the norm with most developers, and up to a year in some cases, so I sympathize with M B
Two software vendors from whom I've purchased licenses on BDJ have both produced new major upgrades within weeks of my purchases and want payment. Needless to say I will not be upgrading.
        Nov 26 2012 at 6:42am
Michelle McKee :( I agree to a point. When it is within a few weeks, I find it troubling. BTW I bought a new iPad from Apple less than a week ago (my first) and for under $100 extended the warranty an extra year including two accidental incidents that I would only pay $50 for a full replacement. Now that my friends is customer service!
        Dec 5 2012 at 2:22am
_*_ Update:
After my experience with Zoner as stated here; I am so pleased I never purchased another thing from them.

They may not have offered me a free upgrade, but in the end they now offer ever version for free once they come out with a new version.

I have not had to pay for another Zoner product since this thread and yet have got to use ever version for free since.

Instead of keeping a paying customer they now have one that gets to use their product for free for life by simply waiting for the last version to be offered free as it is currently at SoS.

Thanks Zoner for being short sighted and saving me a bunch of money; it feels good! :o)
        Mar 25 2015 at 7:09am
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