Re: MSFT Open Sores

Dave Long (
Mon, 12 Apr 1999 23:11:05 -0700

> They're too busy shoving in "features". (It lets their admen give
> customers a reason to buy upgrades without having to admit to past
> screwups).

Once upon a time, before the ISV, software was rented, not owned. Today we
maintain the fiction of "buying" upgrades, even if the cash flow would look
like recurring lease charges to an uninformed accountant.

As to feeping creaturism, check out Hal Varian's
"Economic Incentives in Software Design":

>I examine the incentives for software providers to design appropriate user
>interfaces. There are two sorts of costs involved when one uses software: the
>fixed cost of learning to use a piece of software and the variable cost of
>operating the software. I show that a monopoly provider of software generally
>invests the right amount of resources in making the software easy to learn, >
but too little in making it easy to operate. In some extreme cases a >
monopolist may even make the software too easy to learn.

His argument generalizes: the monopolist can and should sacrifice benefits for
those who have already bought in order to attract those who have not. There
are a few domains where either customers are discerning enough or support
costs cannot be sufficiently externalized, but in most cases, by that logic, a
monopolist's pursuit of the marginal customer should result in bloatware.


Is there a Dilbert search-by-theme engine? This needs a link to the Sales
Team's confusion between actual product features and Star Trek...