1password Moves to Subscription Software Model

1password, my favorite password manager, went to a subscription model recently, and there has been a lot of reaction to that, almost all of it negative.

My first reaction to seeing this news was “ugh”, because it really does seem like I’m being nickel-and-dimed each time some app published wants me to pay a subscription for something that was working just great as a one-time license product. In this case, I did get over it mostly because of utility: I use 1password all day, every day. I really like 1password as a product, and I think the developer really is the kind of company I want to trust this kind of work to. I recognize that being an independent software company is hard, and the subscription model is one of the solid ways for them to stay independent and making first-class products like 1password. I really, really don’t want to see them snapped up by some other company or–worse yet–go under.

I had a discussion about this over the weekend with Mike, who’d recommended 1password to a colleague and was appalled to find that there was no way to “just buy” 1password as he had done, and I sympathize. His point was that he didn’t see any value to the enhanced Windows support, “travel mode”, or the other things that the subscription brings in addition to just a great Mac and/or iPhone client. He is happy with Dropbox support, so the cloud service wasn’t a value-add either. Again, I sympathize with his position, but I can see why they’re doing it.

Is 1password worth $36/year? IMO, yes, so I subscribed. Good luck to them.

As a postscript, let me add that I recently bought a new MacBook Pro, and had decided to go with a clean install, rather than restoring everything from a backup of my old machine. I’d decided in advance that I wasn’t ever going to install the Dropbox client on it, and moved completely to the 1password cloud service for my passwords. It was slick: I installed the 1password software, logged in to my 1password account, and everything was just there and working, without the invasive Dropbox client. Very nice. I did the same with my Windows gaming box, and the new client there is much, much better than the old one. I’ll do the same with a Windows box at work, and just love that it’s so easy to have the best way to manage my passwords everywhere I work, without having to install Dropbox everywhere too.