Archive for November, 2015

What’s the business plan for computing in the future?

Monday, November 30th, 2015

Back 40+ years ago one of my college professors told me that we would get to the point where software cost more than the computers it was running on. That seemed a stretch back when computers were in the $375,000 and up (way up) price range. But of course he was right. Things change though and software is getting less expensive. A lot of people these days use Free Open Source software for computers.. Even with what I pay for software (Office 365 mostly) the cost of that software is low enough that I probably pay more for the computer. So maybe some people (at least as consumers) pay more for computer hardware than software.
We seem to be at the edge of a new huge drop in hardware prices though. Make magazine recently ran an article comparing sub-$10 dollar computers Of course to make them work as development machines you need to add more money but the real under $100 computer is clearly coming. It sure does sound great.
And then what? Everyone has a cheap computer. No one wants to pay for software. What is the incentive to do more development?
If you can’t make good money selling computers (thin margins, saturated market) who wants to spend money developing smaller cheaper computers? It’s not like you can make money on disposable accessories like ink cartridges which is where printer companies make most of their money. With all most everything you need in software on the Internet local performance becomes almost a complete non-issue so maybe you don’t need a faster computer.
How do you make a living off of giving software away? Support contracts? Those are no different from paid subscriptions which many people object to.
Ah, advertising! That’s been “the answer” for making money on the Internet. Will that work? Oh please no. There is too much of that already. At least for me. Others may disagree.
We’re in a race to make computers and software less expensive. Great for people looking to buy or use either of those items. Possibly not so good for people looking to make money. If there is no money to be made who will make the hardware/software people want?