Linked by David Adams on Tue 26th Oct 2004 16:30 UTC
Editorial The software industry is undergoing a gradual transformation, and consumer fatigue is at its root. The licensing model that has formed the basis for the modern software industry is facing challenges on many fronts, and the industry is scrambling to keep its footing. Where this period of change may lead software producers and consumers isn't quite clear, but some trends are emerging. Since the proliferation of the internet, unauthorized redistribution of digital goods has become rampant. But although software sharing probably won't kill the software industry, the reasoning behind it shares some pedigree with the customer revolt that promises to transform the way software is sold.
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by Archangel on Tue 26th Oct 2004 22:27 UTC

Agreeing again... if they can afford to sell Office for $150 to students, why does it cost so much more for everyone else?

And yes, why is it so damn expensive? Every two years they add a few bits, and oh look, hundreds of dollars again.
Meanwhile if you want to buy say a game, it costs US$50. The whole thing had to be written from scratch (or the engine licensed, in which case that cost has to be recovered). Then if it's something like Diablo 2, it sells five million copies at that price - compared to Office's 100 million or so? What happened to supply and demand?
And frankly I find it hard to believe that Office is harder to code - you don't need artists or modellers either (except for the Excel easter eggs).

Microsoft are very clever with their pricing and marketing though. The student licenses are sold with the sole purpose of making the brand ubiquitous (something Bill G is very big on). Then you buy a full copy of Office - after that you can upgrade, so you also received some sort of intangible "office user" asset that you'll be 'wasting' if you don't buy the next version.

Or there's Windows - XP Home is basically XP Pro with bits cut out. Despite what they advertise, they clearly didn't write it that way then add functionality for Pro. So if anything there's more work involved for Home - but it's more like half the price.
The reason for that is simple - they think it's all home users need, and it gets the brand out there. Whereas they can make money off businesses who have to buy Pro, and also can afford to buy it.

As you say, this cost must be artificially maintained - open source software, which is often available free, has become a viable alternative. Companies are making money off it. So if OpenOffice can work as a free product, why does MS Office have to remain so expensive?