In most cases I haven't found any improvements but quite the opposite. Keeping up that should completely ruin every program they offer. IMO Dragon Naturally Speaking has no improved since they re-branded it from Scansoft.
As much as I understand of this, it has, indeed, been the pattern for Nuance software over the years. However, the latest incarnation of DNS does seem to have a few improvements worth having. In particular, it now looks at the processing power of the PC it sits on and moves up a gear if it finds plenty of processing power. I have certainly noticed a difference over DNS 11.5.
As to the other packages, too often the "updates" merely squelch bugs that should have been fixed in updates and patches. Some also introduce instabilities. (We chew over this endlessly on the PaperPort Google Group
, where Nuance's victims shelter for comfort and self support.) But there is usually some tangible improvement in there – often minor, I agree – that really does add something. For example, the latest version of PaperPort introduces new desktop icons that tell you much more about the underlying PDF file. If it contains a text overlay, for example.
The version before that added native OCR, eliminating the need for a third party OCR package, such as OmniPage, to create searchable PDF files. Again, an improvement worth the upgrade price for many users.
Nuance has also taken to throwing cloud storage into new versions of its software. But reflecting the disparate origins of the software, it uses different cloud services with different software, and does not seem to have thought of integrating them. So PaperPort has PaperPort Anywhere, a version of OfficeDrop – but one that will not cohabit with OfficeDrop – while PDF Converter Professional 8 uses Gladinet.
Many people do not need "cloud". But its inclusion in PaperPort has convinced me that it is a useful tool in these increasingly mobile days. I have PaperPort Anywhere and other clouds connecting my android devices, my laptop and PCs.
One "bug" that seems to have gone from PDF Converter Professional 8 is the insane activation regime that kicked in if you managed to boot your PC with a different array of USB drives connected. Nuance has always been more paranoid about activation than anyone else, but it had become so bad that it was driving away potential customers (Check the Amazon reviews for PDFC 7.) But you should not have to buy another version to mend their defects.
Finally, to repeat, the FLEXnet thing, which describes itself as a "Software Manager", is not adware as any reasonable person would recognise it. The only "ads" you will get are occasional notifications, probably every year or so, of new versions of your Nuance products, along with genuine update alerts for your existing software. As Nuance rarely puts out updates, and is painfully slow at fixing known bugs, and upgrades are biennial rather than annual, it is usually adequate to simply disable it using msconfig in startup and then running it manually from time to time.