moderated Re: Question regarding jaws SMA

Leedy Diane Bomar

During the past several years, at consumer convention time, F.S. Has offered a great deal on the SMAs for JAWS. I believe the cost of a new SMA was $75, irregardless if one had the latest version, or not. This was a regular 2-year SMA. I found that it was also available via a phone call to F.S.  A new copy of JAWS, for those who did not already have it, was $150. Now, this is reasonable, and should be the normal pricing.

It wouldn't surprise me, at all, considering present and past attitude of this company (no matter what their current name is), for them to stop selling the SMAs all together. I will not mince words: that company has used, and even influenced, Microsoft to NOT include full inclusion in Windows. They have exploited blind people, and municipal agencies, from the beginning! Now, they JAWS sales are diminishing, and they are taking over the accessibility of web and app development!

At vendor conventions, such as CSUN, they have wooed and provided misleading information to large companies, such as Amazon, to sell them "solutions". These include training,conducted in such a way to ensure that developers are convinced that they cannot include accessibility considerations in their coding. I do not write this, as opinion, I have facts to back up what I am saying, including from Amazon executives!

Their training strategy consists of bringing blindfolded developers into a room, and "teaching" them to use JAWS to navigate web sites. They then demo their expensive software solutions that can be run against inaccessible web sites, and either repair the problems, or point out the problems to the developers. Imagine a screen dependent developer being blindfolded and presented with a keyboard. Their brains would be screaming for visual input, and panic the individuals. This is a natural biological/neurological response.

When I asked the Amazon executive why they would not simply turn off the screen, rather than blindfolding the group, his reply was "but then, they would be able to see the keyboard!". I explained that blind people are used to seeing the keyboard by touching it, and most of us are taught touch typing at an early age. We are usually not mouse dependent, which these developers are. But, he was flummoxed by my objections. After all, F.S. Had been the developer of the "most popular" screen reader for decades! They had wined and dined him at Csun, and would take the burden of responsibility off of his shoulders! BTW, he told me thatAmazon "was lucky to find" him, as their posting for an executive to handle accessibility had been advertised for over a year. What made him qualified for such a lucrative, influential position? He once had a blind friend, and he had worked for NASA writing text descriptions of their pictures on their website!

Even as H-J, the company always required that one update from the most recent public release. One had to pay the cost of all of the SMAs for the versions that the person had not bought, or they could simply buy a new copy at $1000 a pop.

I despise business practices that cause a niche market to be dependent on their product, and then charge exorbitant prices, plus take advantage of the government's rightful requirements for accessibility. It would have cost Microsoft pennies on each copy of Windows, to include full accessibility in their software and operating systems, and I hold them equally, if not more, responsible for this miscarriage of "accessibility". But, what can we do? Cut off our nose to spite our face?  F.S. Purposely bought the company that the year before had bought GWMicro, maker of Window Eyes, knowing that they were going to discontinue their highest competitor. The FTC should have been notified and involved with this monopolistic scheme, but the whole matter was handled very stealthily. 

So, I would suggest buying the SMA for as long as they are available. The more people that fall for the subscription scam, the more excuses the company will have to justify that doing away with the SMA was a customer driven decision. 

Does anyone know if it is possible to buy several SMAs that will be viable consecutively? I will definitely be checking this summer to see if they offer this deal, again, but, it wouldn't surprise me if they don't. I expect them to offer subscription licenses at a greatly reduced rate, though. Their "sales" in previous years have had the sole purpose for boosting their sales reports distributed to companies they are trying to impress, and make future money from. I hate hidden agendas, and companies that pretend to do something positive for their customers, to hide the real motivation of increasing their exploitation and dubious business practices. Yes, I know the argument "all businesses do this" but companies that wear the pretext of providing goods and services to a disadvantaged/desperate market, should be called out for exploitation!
 Diane Bomar

On Feb 15, 2020, at 11:18, Glenn / Lenny <glennervin@...> wrote:

I think it is wrong because people paid for the missing versions of Jaws simply by not enjoying all the latest features.
I don't think it is wrong for FS to not give support to someone without an up-to-date license though.
But charging for unpurchased versions is wrong.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Saturday, February 15, 2020 9:35 AM
Subject: Re: Question regarding jaws SMA

It is very common for software makers to offer annual maintenance plans which give people access to the latest version of their software as well as technical support. Vispero actually has never charged for technical support even for those who don’t maintain a current Jaws SMA and are on the latest version. It is typically of great benefit for software makers to try and get as many people to use their latest software since it makes support easier. If somebody still runs Jaws 17 or Jaws 18 they probably run into issues with Windows 10 which they then call Vispero support to help with, but the issues may not be Jaws issues but simply exist because these older versions of Jaws are becoming increasingly incompatible with Windows 10.

I don’t think it’s wrong at all for Jaws to charge somebody who is still using Windows 7 with Jaws version 15 more to jump to version Jaws 2020 because maybe now their computer died and they had to get a new Windows 10 computer. If they only ever bought Jaws 15 and maybe not even had an SMA to begin with, they are now jumping up 7 versions to Jaws 2020 and others who maintained their SMA helped to pay for the development of this version, they paid Vispero all these years also so Vispero can offer technical support which the Jaws 15 user also may have benefited from.

Vispero is a good sized organization with a number of software and hardware products and I really don’t get it why people continue to think that they should give away what they make for free. They have offices and employees and they incur millions in costs and yet people always compare them to NVDA which is an open-source project. I don’t ever see people complaining about the cost of Microsoft Office whether they buy the retail version or are on the Office 365 subscription nor do I see people comparing to projects such as LibreOffice, Polaris Office or FreeOffice.

I think now that in the US people can get up to speed with the latest version of Jaws for $90 a year with the subscription model that this is a very fantastic offer by Vispero, yes, it may cost $2.50 a month more than maintaining your SMA at $60 a year, but having access to what I call still the best screenreader in the world if you need a screenreader for more then sending an occasional email and browsing the web for $7.50 a month is affordable for pretty much everybody. Many of us pay more for our monthly music or Netflix subscription or other things like a couple of coffees from Starbucks or your favourite local gourmet coffee shop etc. If I really had to choose between having a Jaws subscription or a Apple Music or Spotify subscription because I can only afford one or the other I’d rather listen to free music and have access to Jaws or I’ll skip one or two other extras and if that is still beyond me then there is always NVDA which, by the way, would also no longer be around if they didn’t get some donations. I am sure those who complain about the $5 a month to maintain a Jaws SMA or the $7.50 for the subscription are also not people who donate anything to NV Access, but I’m sure others do because they like NVDA and want to help to offset the costs for servers and such so that the project can continue.





From: <> On Behalf Of Glenn / Lenny
Sent: Friday, February 14, 2020 10:15 AM
Subject: Re: Question regarding jaws SMA


That may indeed be correct, but it is not fair if true.

If someone decides to live without the latest and greatest for a year, they should be able to get a new jaws for the same price as a new user.

So if they changed their name and address, they can get it for less?

That's wrong.


----- Original Message -----

Sent: Friday, February 14, 2020 10:14 AM

Subject: Re: Question regarding jaws SMA


That depends on how far behind you are.

If you are on Jaws 2019 and just didn’t have an SMA to upgrade to Jaws 2020 you should be able to buy a new SMA at whatever the price is and it will give you Jaws 2020 and Jaws 2021 this fall.

If you are still on Jaws 2018 you should be able to buy a new SMA and this would entitle you to upgrade to Jaws 2019 and Jaws 2020, of course there is no need to actually install Jaws 2019, you would go straight to Jaws 2020, but at that point your SMA is once again used up and if you want Jaws 2021 this fall you would need to buy another SMA either right away or at the latest by October.

If you are on anything prior to Jaws 2018 like Jaws 18 or even 17, you would have to immediately buy 2 SMA’s to even get Jaws 2020.

Alternatively, if you live in the US you can switch to the Jaws subscription model which is I believe $90 a year, this would entitle you to upgrade right away to Jaws 2020 no matter what version you are on, then you continue to pay $90 each year and this will always entitle you to install and use the latest update.


Having said all this I would highly recommend you speak to Vispero directly at 1-727-803-8600, let them look up your account via the Jaws serial number you have and ask what your options are.

They do also have a toll free number, but I don’t currently have it handy.


Best regards,



From: <> On Behalf Of Blind Gamer
Sent: Friday, February 14, 2020 6:37 AM
Subject: Question regarding jaws SMA


Hi I have one question
If we didn't renew jaws sma then how much price for upgrade

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