Software Minimills Eat Margins

by chromatic

Bernard Golden riffs on an off-hand comment about Microsoft opening the Windows source code to relate how minimills ate the margins of huge steel mills. (Yes, that's a Clayton Christensen story.)

It's always interesting to watch low-margin (and presumably high-volume) products disappear as sources of business value in the mainstream, as well as watching previously high-margin products lose their value gradually. CD-burning software isn't that interesting anymore. Media playback software is downright dull. When was the last time anyone made money off of disk compression software?

The rule of minimills applies beyond F/OSS projects edging out proprietary competitors; consider how bundled IE took over for Netscape Navigator and Communicator. If you were on the Internet in those days, did you ever actually pay for Netscape?