Software Licencing: Perpetual vs Subscription - Act Today Software Licencing: Perpetual vs Subscription - Act Today

Software Licencing:
Perpetual vs Subscription

Subscription-vs-Perpetual LicenceSubscription software isn’t a new idea, however it’s new for Act! Customers. For the last 30 years, Act! has been sold as perpetual licence. To help explain the difference between a perpetual licence and a subscription licence, we explain each model and some factors that you might consider before deciding on which model is best for your business.

Firstly, to explain each payment model in terms of Act! licencing:

A Perpetual Act! license allows you to pay an upfront cost so that you can use Act! indefinitely, subject to the terms of the End User License Agreement. In other words, Perpetual means you can stay on the same version as long as you wish, you just don’t receive subscription new features ongoing. For the first year, an Act! Premium perpetual license also entitles customers to download all Act! updates and upgrades. After the initial 12 month period, you have the option to remain with the last version downloaded or subscribe to Act! Premium in order to continue receiving ongoing updates for Act! Premium. Act! Pro licences are all perpetual. Currently, Act! Pro v19 users are entitled to any new dot releases such as 19.1, 19.2 however after 30th September 2017, Pro users will need to purchase an upgrade to get the next release.

A Subscription Act! license allows you to use Act! during the term that the subscription is valid (1-2 years). Your Act! Subscription includes all updates and upgrades that take place during the subscription term. You can add new or remove licences during the term of your subscription in accordance with the billing policy. After the subscription period ends, the software will no longer function unless a new subscription is purchased.

When is Subscription better than a Perpetual license?

An Act! subscription typically makes sense if you like to keep your software current or don’t want to pay the upfront cost of a perpetual license. A subscription can be convenient in that your spending is predictable – you won’t have to suddenly find money to pay for a needed upgrade. Additionally, you may prefer to have your software as an operating rather than capital expense.

One of the most beneficial features of a subscription is that you receive new features throughout the release cycle meaning you don’t have to wait for a new version to get access to new features and productivity enhancements.

It’s worth noting that after September 2017, Act! Pro users will need to purchase an upgrade licence to upgrade to the next version. If you are upgrading every 1-2 years, it might work out cheaper to subscribe to Act! Premium. Additionally, if you value the added product offerings of Premium, then a subscription is even is even more attractive.

Perpetual may not be forever

Although perpetual licenses may be used forever, mitigating factors often dictate a shorter realistic lifespan. If you upgrade your operating system, hardware or other business software, you may need to purchase an Act! upgrade for compatibility.

For example:

  • Act! 18 or higher is required for compatibility with Windows 10, Office 2016 or 365.
  • Integration with 64-bit versions of Microsoft Office is only supported in Act! v19 and later.

Another issue is support at End of Life (EOL). Act! (and other software companies) do not support software forever. Act! version 16 reached it’s end of life as of 30/09/2016 which means Act! is no longer providing security fixes or technical support for Act! v16 users. Although you may continue to use v16, you could put your business at risk. Typically, Act! only supports the current version and the 2 versions below.

Price Comparison

Here’s a simple analysis of the cost of buying a subscription license vs a perpetual license. This chart assumes that as a perpetual licence holder, you do not require updates in the second and 4th years.

Subscription Perpetual
Year 1 $336.00 $672.00
Year 2 $336.00 No updates
Year 3 $336.00 $672.00
Year 4 $336.00 No updates
Total $1344 $1344

*Pricing listed is for single unit individual licenses and excludes GST.


Whilst subscription definitely has a lot of advantages such as ongoing updates and predictable costs, a perpetual licence might be suitable for your business if you do not plan to upgrade your office hardware/software regularly. If Subscription interests you but you do not want to commit to a full 12 months, take a look at our Act! Cloud subscriptions (billed quarterly). To ascertain which model is best suited to your business, talk to one of our Act! Specialists by calling 1300 362 046 or emailing

Product Release History
  • Act! Premium v19.2 released 24th May 2017
  • Act! Premium v19.1 released 8th March 2017
  • Act! Premium v19.0 released 11th January 2017
  • Act! Premium v18.2 released 21st July 2016
  • Act! Premium v18.0 released 8th December 2015

What’s New in Act! Top 6 Reasons to Subscribe to Act!

SPEAK TO AN ACT! SPECIALIST in Australia 1300 362 046

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