Some say paid software is dying and in some ways, in the traditional sense, that may be true. With Apple leading the way in providing free or almost free software apps in return for higher priced hardware, it’s getting harder and harder for many software companies to survive. This can especially be seen in the case of antivirus software where even Brian Dye, Symantec’s senior vice president for information security, said Antivirus “is dead.”
Well even though the trend is going towards apps and more and more people are using iPads and tablets to connect to the internet, there are still a number of software programs that have weathered the storm and still do very well in the PC market. Not surprisingly, most do well because there simply is no equivalent replacement available for an iPad. Here’s our list of best selling computer software for the first half of 2014.
- Windows 7 Home Premium (and most recently chased by Windows 8.1). It’s obvious you have a failed product when people overwhelmingly downgrade to a previous version of your software. Windows 8 was exactly that – a dud. Not only did the average user find it almost impossible to use the program without the traditional Start Menu, but the non-intuitive interface made it extremely difficult to find the programs you wanted to use. Version 8.1 fixed a lot of that but people are still overwhelmingly buying Windows 7 and getting rid of version 8 which comes by default on many new PC’s.
- Quicken (all flavors combined). There’s still no better program than Quicken running on a PC for managing your finances and paying bills. Some apps have tried to bring it all together but not with much success. We’ve also seen web-based programs like mint.com (i.e. those that only require an internet connection with no installed software required) gain momentum but we believe that we’re still a few years away from these knocking Quicken off it’s throne. What also makes Quicken a best seller is the fact that their expiration policy forces a lot of users to upgrade every three years.
- Norton, McAfee, and Kaspersky. Even though PC sales have slumped to all-time lows, there are still a ton of existing machines in use. All these antivirus and internet security programs have annual subscription plans that require renewals to keep your system up-to-date. However, the last few years have brought out fierce pricing wars against the top names in the industry causing upgrade pricing to fall up to 90% off the list price well into the release date cycle. Often you can find quality antivirus protection on sale these days for under $2.00/month.
- Microsoft Office (Mac & PC) – The thing that tablets still lack are the productivity features that we’ve come accustomed to in Office. From Excel to Word, there is still nothing that comes close to the productivity of these tools when used with a full-size keyboard and mouse.
- Turbotax – Millions of people file there own taxes each year and no one has the market cornered like TurboTax. Only a distant second is H&R Block’s at Home tax software which has dropped in popularity over the last few seasons. Even though Intuit released a TurboTax app a while ago, it’s only available to those running the online versions of their tax preparation software (still not as preferred as the traditional boxed programs).
- Rosetta Stone’s language learning software – This came to us an a surprise due to the multitude of cheap language leaning apps available today. Rosetta Stone prices their software at nearly $500 for a complete series. Seems like the Spanish version is the most popular one again this year followed by Italian and French.
- QuickBooks – Yet another Intuit product to find it’s way on the list. This one is a no-brainer as inventory management, budgeting, customer management, payroll and sales reporting is hard to process from a tablet. Most companies have that older desktop in the back office that’s used just to run this booking data and reconcile records.
- Adobe’s Photoshop Elements & Lightroom. Resource incentive programs like advanced photo editing software is still no match to running on a PC or Mac. Adobe recently released a Lightroom app for the iPad but the fact that’s it’s ONLY available to those subscribed to their Creative Cloud software make it not accessible to most people that own a perpetual version of Lightroom.
- Dragon Naturally Speaking software from Nuance. Speaking of recourse intensive software, Dragon is a CPU hog. For for all those that just hate to type or are super slow at it, it’s a life saver. Related software is Typing Instructor which almost made our best selling list this year.
- Adobe Acrobat and Nuance PowerPDF – Making beautiful PDF documents on an iPad is still years away. For businesses it’s an essential tool and often a required format for legal documents and sending invoices.
One more category that almost made our list was software that helps run Windows on a Mac. With the resurgence of macbook sales and the slow catch up of programs that run on a Mac, these last few years have helped Parallels Desktop for Mac and VMware Fusion sales soar. With new product releases coming annually in the Fall with the release of new operating systems from Apple, expect to see sales spikes closer to the end of the year.
Did we miss a popular software program?
We combined this list by investigating the best selling software statistics from some of the leading eCommerce websites. If you see we’re missing something super obvious, then let us know in the comments below.