Version inversion!

What happened?

I have a license to a software product which ran satisfactorily, but now fails to run on a newly released version of the operating system. Surely, unless facilities in the operating system have been withdrawn or there is a fault in the operating system: this is a fault in the product?

Does this make any difference?

This is not the latest version of the product, it is one version behind the current version to which there is a fee for the upgrade.

Am I thinking straight?

When I asked the software vendor when they intended to fix the fault, I was informed:

In line with most software products, I’m afraid we cannot support older versions of our product with new operating systems.

However I am delighted to pass on a discount code that will allow you to upgrade to <the current version of XYZ> at 20% off the usual price.

Well? This seems backwards to me!

My reaction

The following contains the essentials of my reply in which I’ve omitted information on the product itself (“no names, no pack drill”).

I’d be interested in whether you think that I am out of line.

Thank you very much for your reply and for your 20% discount offer (reduction to …) for the upgrade.

However, you have conveniently misinterpreted the relationship between versions of products and versions of operating systems. Older versions of the vast majority of software products do support newer versions of operating systems. That must be the case, because if it were not, then when a new version of the operating system is being developed, new versions of all applications would need to be developed; and when upgrading an operating system, each customer would find that ALL of their applications were inoperable until they upgraded to the new version of each of the applications. This would be unworkable and operating systems are generally “backwards compatible” for that reason. It is also the reason why the system requirements for products are stated as: version “n” OR LATER; not OR EARLIER!

Perhaps you mean the opposite: many new versions of products require the current, or a recent, version of the operating system; and, equivalently, new versions of products cannot be expected to run on old versions of the operating system. This is not surprising as new versions of products frequently use features of the operating system that were not available in earlier versions of the operating system.

When one buys a license to a product one expects it to work indefinitely; it is not intended to be time-limited or to fail when a newer version of the operating system is installed. Thus your statement is disappointing and undermines customers’ trust in …’s understanding of the value that it is providing. It also diminishes the perceived value in upgrading to version <current>, (and by a lot more than <20% of the upgrade price>).

Therefore, I would urge XYZ to reconsider the stance on vM.N.0, to solve the problem which prevents it from running on ….. and to release a new version (as vM.N.1 or vM.[N+1].0) and provide it as a free upgrade from vM.N.0.

So what do you think? Have I got this wrong?

By the way, I have not upgraded yet, because its value is significantly diminished by this stance. We shall see whether that is rectified.

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