Friday, December 15, 2006

How to make a successful freeware (Listen up Microsoft)

How to make a successful freeware that gets you rich.

A case study of the ubuntu model;

Disclaimer: This text contains certain views as perceived by the author. Predictions and other details may be found from other’s point of view as wrong absurd. Or not entirely my idea; or in otherwords a collection of ideas.

The beginning. The circle of life

Mr Shuttleworth had a dream. Sure he was a crazy millionaire who had his way to space on occasions, but a really brilliantly crazy.

He never did believe in anything but himself, free software or you pay for it. Whatever used to be his idea? That’s the kind of idea that leads to the ubuntu. He takes best of both worlds [a recent take on the nvidia and ati drivers for linux with ubuntu]. And the best from the free world. Debian period. Combines them to make a one of a kind that used to be pioneered by the mandrake, the drake people. [now mandriva; has totally lost its touch]. He poured in millions into setting up Canonical Inc which had the dual edge knife, one of developing and integrating the best of free and the non free world. And other to give out free CD’s to the entire world populace with a PC.

With the distribution method of sending out free CD’s, few of them tried hoarding them as personal copies. But how much can you hoard. Then finally one starts to give it away to the ubuntu-less.

About footing the ubuntu bill

  1. Development : 1 million USD
  2. CD dispatches : a high estimate of 100 Million CD’s @ 0.09$ per peice [incl shipping] => 9 Million

This way he spend a total of 10 Million USD, in various versions and installments. I bet he would have done it much cheaper than the 9 million tag definitely . He could have outsourced this task to china or india or some other country for a much cheaper rate.

Anyways he spend 10 million USD, shipped out 100 Million copies with an average of 10 cents per disc you wonderfully rejoice.

What he got

  1. A modest 10% turn out of conversation to ubuntu? Lets estimate 10 Million ubuntu users either from another distro or from EVEN windows. That’s about half the estimate of linux users worldwide. []
  2. Shuttleworth made a brand that clicks with the population. Even though untold people believe they too follow the Google motto of don’t be evil!
  3. A command over what other developers in the community should do and shouldn’t do [the SuSe issue]
  4. A place in the OS history Textbooks. Even economics and some others as well.

What he can do

  1. Create enterprise versions of ubuntu, which of course would be preferred by the 10 million ubuntu converts!
  2. Either enter into a model like redhat or SLED
  3. Create a subscription based model like Symantec
  4. Or be an outright authority like Microsoft.
  5. Whatever he does could be and will be done at his additional expense and keeping his 10 million happy and growing to even more numbers.

Lessons for Microsoft

They could make the basic version of vista free. Damn I’ve been preaching that home version of vista would be free for about an year now. But none of my friends seem to listen.

But I sure hope it would be, at least if not in the first season it bound to be. Because it’s like trying to sell cakes with icing to a guy with a full stomach of plain old turkey and bread. It’s pointless. Unless you give it free. He’s not going to buy.

Microsoft’s got more than enough money from other sources. Its not that Microsoft survives on the poor end user like me or anyone like home user for their existence. It simply is too trivial for them. So why not make it free. As in free beer. Not as in free as in freedom.

Anyways Microsoft you know your numbers, why bother the consumers at lower levels with your mambo jumbo about money and such. You collect money from those who have money. Be more of like Robin Hood. Be more of a hero to us than be a dictator of sorts.

Tell me what do You think about my article.