Adobe is going cloud-based and subscription for its Creative Suite. Microsoft has already done that with Office and more companies have gone down similar paths or are considering it.
Take Apple. It's AppleCare warranty products, currently are sold in an individual basis per device, could become subscription based soon. For Apple, it could be a changing landscape of how business is conducted. Recently, Apple was targeted by the self-serving Chinese central government over warranty issues.
What's to keep Apple from launching subscription services for other Apple products like OS updates and even iTunes services. iTunes Match is already something that Apple has offered since November of 2011. It's generally considered to be a precursor for a full on music streaming service. Furthermore, Apple is looking to strike a deal for video subscriptions as well.
For Apple, they will likely take their time with this and see where the market is headed. Netflix's services started with the DVD services with streaming added later only. However, there was a major in the summer of 2011 when it attempted to separate the DVD and streaming subscriptions. Apple is likely going to take its time to avoid repeating of Netflix's mistake.
All said, there is nothing that is going to keep Apple from going down the subscription route, for warranty, hardware or app services, or, eventually, more iTunes content.
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