SMA No More? JAWS and ZoomText Annual Home Licensing: A Win for Consumers

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SMA No More? JAWS and ZoomText Annual Home Licensing: A Win for Consumers

We’ve often heard users of access technology products express frustration over the cost to keep their technology up-to-date. With a software maintenance agreement (SMA), a user incurs a periodic fee to make sure they have the latest version of their screen access program. For users on a limited or fixed income, this frequently means running an outdated version of their software and higher pricing to catch up later. It also means losing accessibility as programs are updated, as new web technologies are developed, and as their software lags behind.

With the recent release of JAWS 2019, Freedom Scientific has taken a different approach. For users of JAWS® and ZoomText® home licenses, users can now pay annually for software upgrades and support. This pricing aligns with the models being adopted by other software manufacturers like Microsoft, who now offers an annual subscription to its Office suite instead of requiring users to pay a significant one-time flat fee. The same is true for the Freedom Scientific model. Instead of a $900 purchase price and a biannual SMA renewal, users pay a sub one-hundred dollar subscription fee annually, and receive the benefits of customer support as well as all product upgrades while their subscription is active. Users are able to install the software on up to three computers and have access to a web-based portal for managing their licenses. Should your subscription lapse, you would no longer receive support or upgrades.


Pricing for this new Home Annual licensing is as follows:

  • JAWS® $90 per year
  • ZoomText Magnifier/Reader: $80 per year

Users can also choose to pay for a three- or five-year license when making the first purchase, or at time of renewal. Note that there is no discount, but it is convenient if you have the funds available.

What’s the Catch?

As far as we can tell, none. Home Annual pricing offers a lot of benefit to users compared to previous options. This plan should hopefully allow those taking advantage of it to stay up-to-date on JAWS® and ZoomText®, leading to increased accessibility experiences to applications and websites.

While they are not catches per se, there are a couple of things to be aware of if you would like to consider an annual home license:

  • Home Annual pricing is only available for home users. Those using professional versions of JAWS® and enterprise licenses, and those using JAWS® or ZoomText® in a commercial setting, will still need to purchase SMAs to keep those versions up-to-date.
  • Remote desktop and Citrix services are not included in Home Annual licensing. If you remotely connect from your home computer to a work computer, or other computers in your network, you will not be able to use this feature under this plan.
  • Home Annual licensing can only be purchased online. You cannot purchase or renew an annual license through a dealer or over the phone.

How Do I Get It?

To compare the different licenses available, consult the JAWS License Comparison or ZoomText License Comparison charts. If you would like to make a purchase, you can do so on the Home Annual Software page of the Freedom Scientific eStore.

We applaud the decision by Freedom Scientific to consider the needs of home users and offer a pricing model that makes it more affordable for those users to keep software up-to-date.

—Rachel Olivero