Random thoughts on the cost of software

by Dan Zambonini

I don't know why, but I was thinking about the price of different software products last night. I don't think any of this means anything, but for some reason it won't go out of my head until I write it down:

  • If Microsoft Windows cost any less (free?), would they sell any more copies? (no?)

  • If Linux (generic, not talking RHES etc) cost more (something), would they 'sell' any less? (yes?)

  • If Oracle Database cost any more, would they sell any less copies? (no? not by much?)

  • If Google (Search) was a subscription service, would most people pay for it? (yes?)

  • Does Opera prove that most people won't pay for a web browser? Or, considering that the web browser is becoming the most important software item on the desktop, would people pay a token sum for an exceptional browser product with hugely improved efficiency/features (firefox isn't all that)? (yes?)

  • Similarly, if IE and Firefox were priced at $10 each, how many of each would sell?

  • In the next 10 years, will nearly all software be (cost) 'free' (i.e. the marketplace becomes more service-oriented)? Or will the reverse happen and people will pay for search, browsers, etc?

  • A Powerbook costs about $1500, and OSX about $130. But the 'value' of the $1500 powerbook includes being able to use OSX, not just the price of OSX. So, when OSX inevitably comes to the PC, how much 'value' will be lost from a $1500 powerbook? Will it then only be worth $1000 to a typical user?

Like I said, this doesn't mean a whole lot (except point out that different products have different 'value propositions'), but I have a niggling feeling that there's something interesting to be found by following this train of thought.


2005-12-16 17:23:42
OSX on x86
Apple/Intel boxen and OSX will have a hardware/software check to make sure OSX is only install or run on approved hardware. I'm sure this will be hacked but for most people the price point will be the same because a dell laptop won't run OSX.