The Right Question

Sometimes knowing the right question is better than knowing the answer. Dave Winer asked Who will pay for Software? Robert Scoble adds that somewhere along the way people started believing that software should be free. And naturally, everyone looks askance at open source. But in my eyes, open source is only a symptom. The real problem is the ongoing commoditization of software.

Today, you can buy a 2 GHz Pentium 4 PC for less than last decade’s 133 MHz Pentium. That engenders a fundamental value expectation for the average consumer - when you can buy a PC bundled with software for $600, just how good does a $50 application need to be? Microsoft can make their money because they’re part of the bundle. But everyone else needs to convince the consumer that he will be 10% happier.

The right question is What will people buy?