A former community discussing the business of software, from the smallest shareware operation to Microsoft. A part of Joel on Software.
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Doug Nebeker ("Doug")
I wonder how many old-time shareware authors are still reading this forum, or are still in this software business.
The software world has changed a lot in the past 1-2 years, I would say more than the previous 10 years combined.
Mobile apps are changing the landscape of software. It is not easy for a desktop programmer to change to mobile platform, coding skill aside, the entire concept of sales/marketing from old-times shareware are different on the App market.
What's worse, the change of Google's SEO policy has huge, impact on many small developers, most of the time negative effects. It is getting hard and hard for small authors to promote their products.
I think this time the end of shareware has really come. Is it just my own feeling ?
Depends a lot on what you mean by "shareware". Waaay back in the day "shareware" was "donation-ware" -- ie you try it and if you like it, voluntarily send the author money. That probably hasn't worked well for quite a long time.
Desktop software, with perhaps an initial free trial period, is still doing quite well. There are a lot of areas that phones and tablets do good enough at. But there are still many, many areas that the small form factor and awkward input methods make it subpar.
So there are many people still making a very good living making desktop software. We'll see how long it lasts.
To me, the bigger threat to desktop software is cloud -- ie everything runs in the browser. But for the software vendor that means subscription revenue which is the holy grail.
>the entire concept of sales/marketing from old-times shareware are different on the App market
The old fashioned idea of charging enough for your work to make a decent living doesn't seem to apply to apps. Instead (some of them) trick you (or your child) into accidentally clicking in-app ads or in-app purchases. Ick.
>It is getting hard and hard for small authors to promote their products.
How so? Existing promotional channels (like AdWords) get more expensive and competitive over time. But new channels are always appearing.
There is more competition now than there was 10 years ago. But there are also a lot more customers online.
In some ways shareware is dead, but in others ways it lives on:
Friday, June 27, 2014
Still writing Desktop software, have had my best ever month this month.
I do like the OP's attitude though, whilst all the kids are off writing fart apps for their phones I can concentrate on satisfying customers who are willing to pay without too much competition.
Of course Google think everything should be delivered through a web browser, Apple think everything should be from their app store and god know what MS are thinking. If you ignore all that noise and concentrate on your customers needs you will be fine.
By the way listing your app on Google Play or in Apple's app store isn't marketing, it's logistics.
+1 "concentrate on your customers needs"
Friday, June 27, 2014
>Author of Flappy Bird. Overnight millionaire.
But that's really just a random fluke. It's like playing the lottery, there is a small chance you will win.
The only reason we are talking about Flappy Birds is because the worlds media decided to talk about Flappy Birds.
There are hundreds of thousands of equally awful, poor quality games in various app stores that nobody has ever heard of, let alone downloaded.
Trying the "Flappy Birds" route to success is akin to saying "I am going to write a hit song!" ( or book ). You might do it, and good luck to you, but the chances are you wont.
My preferred strategy is to sell good quality but boring software to middle managers who are spending other peoples money. So far it's working.
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