Dark Cloud: “Software as a Service”

Storm cloud cartoonEver since the emergence of the personal computer software market in the 1970s, vendors mostly adopted an “outright sale” model of licensing.  The customer purchased the product, often originally in a shrink-wrapped box, which delivered the software on media such as floppy discs or CD-ROM, along with a license which (usually) conferred the perpetual right to use the software on one computer.  This model, adopted from the consumer electronics industry, is not a particularly good fit for the software business.  Unlike a television set or even a personal computer, software continues to evolve over time, as new features are added, support for new and more capable hardware is integrated, changes are made to maintain compatibility with the underlying software platform (operating system, window manager, database package, etc.), and modifications are made to comply with and support evolving industry standards.

All of this requires ongoing investment by the software vendor, and if revenue is received just once, with the initial purchase, it’s difficult to see how this can be funded, especially once the period of rapid growth comes to an end and a product obtains a large market share with an installed base which have already paid for it.  Trying to persuade users to buy an entire new product and discard the old one is a non-starter, except for some very low price point products such as games (where the update is usually positioned as a new edition in a series).  So, vendors mostly tried to persuade their installed base to pay for updates, at a fraction of the price of the original software, and customers constantly pushed back about the cost of the updates and often continued to use ancient versions of the software, which caused the vendor headaches and customers difficulty when older versions of a program wouldn’t read files written by the current release.... [Read More]

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Refugiadas Venezolanas

We are about to face a new flood of economic refugees. We need border security as soon as we can get it. President Trump needs to mobilize Army and National Guard resources to aid Border Patrol and ICE to stem the anticipated flow.

Remember what a disaster it was for Europe when four million Syrians fled their homes? Perhaps our situation is not nearly so dire, but the United Nations is predicting two million people will flee Venezuela this year. That is a lot of refugees. Many will go to Brazil or other parts of South America. Columbia is the obvious first choice for many Venezuelans, but Columbia is already flooded with one and a quarter million Venezuelan refugees. Three million people have left Venezuela in the past two years. Venezuelans are going to be headed for America.... [Read More]

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