Monday, January 3, 2011

A tip for software companies.

It amazes me that so many times people who are in charge of large and small software companies make dumb decisions. They get nice salaries but often make decisions that come back and bite them later on. One good strategy for any large or small company that is lagging behind on the Windows or Mac OS market is to create software for GNU/Linux. Linux is growing as a platform and has millions of users worldwide. This is an emerging market with great potential for growth. Linux still lacks certain software, especially professional applications such as video editing and many others. There are several projects that found a huge following under the GNU/Linux platform but were not as popular under Windows or Mac OS. It is a great strategy to start creating software for GNU/Linux to gain an advantage over your competition and to gain market share overall. Also, to be the first in an emerging market such as Linux can prove to be very advantageous and beneficial in the long run. Software companies should get their foot into the door of the Linux world before other large companies come along and reap a lot of benefits.

There are many arguments that might be limiting software companies to get into Linux. One is that the GNU/Linux platform market share is too small and not worth getting into. However, because Linux is growing and gaining momentum, in the future you could find yourself left behind while other great software projects will take over your market. It is essential to be there before your competition and get your product out before everyone else. Currently, the Linux market is around 2% on the desktop but that is definitely increasing. Linux is not only growing on the desktop but on netbooks, tablets and hand held devices. The first company into an emerging market usually has the upper hand.

Another argument is that GNU/Linux is open source and there is not much money in software development. It is true that Linux is open source and majority of the applications are free as well. However, Linux runs proprietary software and there are many that are popular. Certain professional applications will probably never be open source but the need is still there and people are willing to pay. Users of Linux have money and are willing to buy software that is of excellent quality and will enable them to create professional projects, because they are still saving money in the long run.

Distributions such as Ubuntu already have a paid section for software in their Ubuntu Software Centre. This allows Ubuntu users to quickly buy software for the Linux platform. Some individuals would rather pay for applications than spend their time looking for free software on the Internet. Plus, with paid software you usually get support and warranty. Creating a place where Linux developers can sell their applications is a great boost for the Linux platform.

In conclusion, the GNU/Linux platform is growing and it is beneficial for large and small software creators to get into the market before their competition does. This will give them an upper hand and a new market to flourish in. Many people who use Linux are willing to purchase proprietary and open source software, especially if it is of good quality and for professional use. Just because the Linux market is only 2%, it should not be overlooked, as it is an emerging market with great growth potential. Many applications have found popularity under GNU/Linux while not being so successful on Windows or the Mac OS platform.

What software companies do you think could get an upper hand or a business advantage if they started creating their software for GNU/Linux? What applications would you want to see and are willing to pay for on Linux?

6 comments:

  1. I never had very specific needs tied to a single app; my needs always fell under an activity rather than one vendor's product (web browsing; document writing; video editing). When I first started with GNU/Linux I was very disappointed to not find specific programs. However, once I spent some time with the alternatives and started reporting bugs and suggestions that made my tasks easier, I couldn't imagine going back to being tied to a specific vendor.

    My point is: if vendors want to get on the GNU/Linux bandwagon, they're losing out more and more the longer they wait. The alternatives are very good and always improving.

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  2. Pretty good explanation, overall. It would be good to mention, however, that the supposed 2% market share is an unreliable estimate for a variety of reasons. A more appropriate statement would be to note the number of confirmed Linux users (over 100 million), and mention that most home users aren't included in those studies.

    I could give you some resources to make it easier to mention in the future, but other than that small tidbit, very good article. I think if it were any other platform than Linux people would be more willing to jump on, but Linux has built up a reputation with some people who think it's not worth their time. The issue is to erase the negative preconceptions first.

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  3. I agree. There are huge advantages to being the first major vender in any given market. Whoever makes the first, say, commercial high-quality finantual program like Quicken for Linux can easily gain and keep 90+ percent of the market. What are the chances of doing that in the Windows world? Very little.

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  4. I believe there are instances where Vendors choose not to develop for Linux out of ideological principles. In those cases they figure their developments should not only provide a profit but also protect "the industry" the cannibalizing effects incurred when better products at better prices eat into partial products that generate a need for newer products at greater prices. Also, there can be an ideological fear-factor seen in large private ventures causing them to stick with "the industry" as if it was a good-ole-boy network, and rather than potentially earning greater profits by selling applications for a project that is essentially public owned [Linux] they allow themselves to get jaded with the idea that it's "wrong" to not support the private establishments. The idea is: benefit from Private Business and then Contribute back to the machine, that is back to Private Industry. Its the same mentality where businesses go out of their way, even incurring extra expense and inconveniences, just so-as support FedEx or UPS ..and only because they are "Private Business", The Ideology of many within Private Business is that supporting Linux is the same as saying that you don't believe in Private Business.

    We the Linux Users need to remind Software Vendors and Hardware Manufacturers how Free Enterprise and Supply and Demand actually works. When applied properly we the consumers get to purchase ever superior products at steadily decreasing prices and in in the process of our decisions over products we become valued consumers from vendors who choose the hardware we like and the software we need. On the other hand, an unhealthy industry featuring Private Businesses that lock out better products at superior prices (Linux etc.) for fear of product price canalization only serves to treat the customer as ..well, NOT a customer but rather as a Beast of Burden.

    Consumers, please remind the Vendors that you want Linux compatible hardware and that you need Linux compatible software.. and that you are willing to pay for good products that adheres to the Linux philosophy. We the customers will pay for service and make the Vendors well off and proclaim them the Geniuses they are, ..and eventually, one day, we will all share their marvelous inventions and another Linux software vendor will one day, perhaps years later, utilize their products, save the consumer money, and add another complete layer to the prior system... and make themselves well off and their companies labeled the Geniuses that they are...

    Way go Andriod! Amazon Kindle! Barnes and Noble Nook! etc.

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  5. There should be a Linux clones of Mac's "time machine," Final Cut Express, GarageBand, and iDVD; that would be cool!!!

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  6. Just look at Roboform, after years in business, ignoring anything but windows, dying. New LastPass, supporting "any" OS, conquered the market.

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