Another Way Not to Price Software

We’ve commented several times on the problems confronting software vendors who have historically priced their products on a per-CPU basis (see posts on Oracle and BEA), as technology has made the very concept of the CPU rather ambiguous. Now the Unix Guardian has suggested an alternative– pricing applications based on the amount of memory they use. To put it simply, this is absurd. Is a bloated program that takes twice as much memory to run (more slowly than) a well-written program twice as valuable? To quote Peter Drucker:

Quality in a product or service is not what the supplier puts in. It is what the customer gets out and is willing to pay for. A product is not quality because it is hard to make and costs a lot of money, as manufacturers typically believe. This is incompetence. Customers pay only for what is of use to them and gives them value. Nothing else constitutes quality.

Software product managers need to get out there and figure out what their products are worth, not peg pricing to artificial metrics, let alone metrics that actually run counter to the value gradient.

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