Retail software prices are often eyebrow-raisingly high, and for the most part, inflexible. Every couple years, it’s not uncommon for our family to shell out $150 to $500 for the latest Microsoft Office Suite. The full Adobe Creative Suite will set you back almost $2,000, and upgrades are $600. The home edition of Mathematica is about $300. Apple Final Cut Studio will cost you $1,000 and Logic Studio another $500. These prices are no doubt in line with professionals who require the software to live, but for more casual users, who might interact with the software infrequently, paying full retail price seems exorbitant. This sets up a market imbalance, similar to that of the world of music pre-Napster, where the consumer at times can seem justified for obtaining the software freely using another method.
I’ve previously stated that the vast majority of consumers are solid law-abiding citizens who are happy to pay for quality, assuming price is in line with the assumed value of the goods. When inequality enters the system, be it for full music albums, individual movie theater tickets, software, or even pay per view TV events, technology often comes into play to circumvent the traditional restraints.
The disruption of the music industry by Napster’s steal what you can model, followed by iTunes’ efforts to reign things back again at an affordable price point, has recently evolved further with the subscription-based all you can eat method, one not pioneered by Spotify, but popularized by it, despite years of Rhapsody and Napster (part two), and newer competitors like Rdio offering similar structures. Software, running in parallel, can similarly be downloaded for free on peer to peer networks, and can even be downloaded directly with options like the Mac App Store and Google’s Chrome Web Store, but missing is the solution for the casual buyer who just wants to rent the software, occasionally accessing it, without needing to shell out for the boxed retail option, dedicating gigabytes of hard drive space for the privilege, being sure to keep one’s serial numbers stored under lock and key.
A new business model, following the Music as a Subscription service, emerges with Software as a Subscription, more commonly referred to as SAAS (Software as a Service). SAAS applications can be enterprise-focused likeSalesforce.com, or consumer focused, like Google Docs and Gmail, most of whom see all the activity taking place on the Web via a Web service. But what about the more traditional software titles from Adobe, Microsoft and others? What about an iTunes-like, Spotify-like service where the consumer could pay about $25 to $50 a month and tap into all the popular software titles in the world, reading and writing remotely, but saving locally?
One assumes the major reason this generic software subscription model has not emerged is because the traditional retail software giants can still get buyers at the hundreds of dollars apiece, and they would be less interested in spreading a customer’s $500 to $600 across 12 months with other providers. So long as they are raking in the revenue, disrupting their own business isn’t appealing.
For consumers with high-speed Web access and relatively powerful CPUs and GPUs, the infrastructure for creating such a software subscription service is there. Toss a few thousand titles on Amazon or iTunes and you can see that with smart cataloging, the ability to use any title in the world would be at your fingertips. Then too would come the next stage of the rollout – including video games and premium offerings with tiered pricings and tiered privileges.
Despite the music industry and other’s concerns, Spotify’s success is not in the ability for some folks to gain free access with ads, but in the popular and accelerating option for paid accounts, eager to shell out real cash for access to an immense music library. I may scoff at the idea of upgrading my Adobe Creative Suite again for a few hundred bucks, only using it sporadically, but I’d pay a good amount per month, like I do for cable TV, electricity and other plumbing, to gain access to the world’s software library. Web-based SAAS for single instance applications is not enough. It’s early days. A company that can get all the copyright holders to work together and find a solution to customers would be extremely compelling.
Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, once said, “The web as I envisaged it, we have not seen it yet. The future is still so much bigger than the past.” It’s only a matter of time before web 3.0 — better known as the “semantic web”– rolls around, making web 2.0 — the web as we know it today — a thing of the past. Though there is a debate among experts as to when exactly web 3.0 will arrive, most predict it’s sooner rather than later.
In the beginning…
Web 1.0 was all about basics. With this first iteration, social networking was merely a dim glimmer in the minds of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and MySpace founders Tom Andersen and Chris DeWolfe. Back then, websites provided information with little opportunity for user interaction and feedback — a one-way process dubbed “read-only”. The most interactive user activities involved chat and instant messaging.
Then web 2.0 came along and introduced the world to blogs, social-networking sites, and a host of self-publishing tools. Articles are now accompanied with “comments” tools, and any hack with a computer can create a blog. Content exploded on the web, and a considerable portion of it is created by average users.
Booming web audience
The first decade also saw a tremendous leap in the growing number of online users. Mobile devices have also made 24-hour access to the web — anywhere, anytime — readily available: Simply sit at Starbucks and read email, check the news, and browse the web while sipping a Frappucino.
What Web 3.0 holds in store
What industry analysts foresee for the next version is a more personalized and easy-to-use web, eliminating several steps from your online searches to make them quicker. Hence, your computer is ‘smarter’ and can better understand what you are searching for. According to PC Magazine, “the Semantic Web is a place where machines can read web pages much as we humans read them, a place where search engines and software agents can better troll the Net and find what we’re looking for.”
For example, if you are planning a weekend getaway to a mountain lodge and you want to make sure that there are convenience stores nearby, you wouldn’t have to conduct separate searches for lodges and stores. The web would simply deliver search results for both and categorize it in such a way that you would know which places are more convenient. What web 3.0 then promises is a more personalized, faster method of search that is tailored to your needs. And experts predict that this could also simplify the current problem of sifting through pages and pages of irrelevant web search results.
Virtual world: Others also speculate whether web 3.0 will eventually develop into a virtual world. Writing in About.com, Daniel Nations explains that it’s a possibility that Web users would eventually be able to walk into virtual buildings and stores online.
What this means for your computer
With every technological advance, older gadgets are eventually replaced by new ones. While web 3.0 doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll need a more powerful computer, the average lifespan for most computers is still 4 to 5 years and that isn’t expected to change. You can have your computer in top-notch shape as web 3.0 approaches by doing preventive maintenance to keep it healthy with help from programs like Computer Checkup Premium or System Mechanic.
Clean registries, remove clutter by clearing out temporary or unwanted files, and help your hard drive run more quickly by rearranging data to remove fragments. Also, speed up your computer and ensure your PC’s hard drive is operating at its maximum potential.
WWW and information overload
One drawback, some say, to these web technologies is that they could make it easier to rely on the web to do the bulk of your work for you. Once upon a time, the fear was that television would dull creativity and mental stimulation, and now the worry is that the Internet has replaced TV in this regard.
As Chris Christensen, a computer executive and host of the Amateur Traveler podcast, says: “So we will hear stories about people for whom the web becomes an obsession. But that is no different from the couch potatoes who did not make good decisions about their TV habits.”
As the New York Times explains, “Their goal is to add a layer of meaning on top of the existing web that would make it less of a catalog and more of a guide — and even provide the foundation for systems that can reason in a human fashion.”
Check out photos from around the world & guess where they were taken! http://bit.ly/cjSqtm #RecoveryRelief
Oseh Shalom http://bit.ly/bTdg6g #nowplaying @DebraUlrich #RecoveryRelief #Amplify #Posterous #AnalogTweet
On 24th November 1984 one of the most famous music recordings in history, “Band Aid”, took place at a studio in North London. On 30th April 2008, this arrangment of Oseh Shalom was recorded in the very same studio.
Featuring the Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom Sir Jonathan Sacks, this song if the finala to the Home of Hope double CD featuring music and words to celebrate Israel’s 60th Anniversary.
For more info and music visit:
http://www.homeofhope.co.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Put your arms around the World & give it a hug! :) http://bit.ly/aX92tZ @DebraUlrich #RecoveryRelief #AnalogTweet
I am delighted to announce HuffPost’s 2010 Game Changers — 100 innovators, mavericks, visionaries, and leaders who are changing the way we look at the world and the way we live in it. Innovation has always been part of HuffPost’s DNA. So we’re pleased to recognize those who are pushing the envelope. Our Game Changers operate in multiple worlds but, whatever the arena, they share a common trait: a willingness to look at things and take the risk of saying, “I think I have a better way.” To salute these Game Changers, we’ve put together slideshows giving you the lowdown on who we picked, why we picked them, and how they are changing the game. But that’s just the beginning: now it’s up to you to vote for the Ultimate Game Changer in each category. Click here to find out more about who we picked and how to cast your vote.