Why Can’t I buy Software “Programs” Anymore?

January 21, 2008

January 21 2008

Why doesn’t Microsoft make software programs any more?

Purchasing larger enterprise class software tools for an organization is expensive. As a percent of revenues it always seems to be an insurmountable cost for smaller organizations. By “enterprise” software I mean software tools that go beyond basic productivity software like word processing and spreadsheets, these tools assist in enhancing collaboration, improving knowledge management, or streamlining processes.

Of course, you mention software, and Microsoft is automatically the 800 pound gorilla in the room, we all know that Microsoft Office is the de-facto office productivity software. But Microsoft also has an extensive suite of enterprise style tools, including Project Server, Sharepoint Portal Server, Visual Studio Team System and others.

While there are many alternative commercial products, or open source tools that can perform many of the same tasks, you sacrifice the tight integration and rich interaction that Microsoft provides in its software suites. Not to mention the training and management issues of that type of migration for smaller organizations.

And That is my problem, all of these tools are software “suites”, they are no longer software “programs” that you can install and use. Each of these suites has so many dependencies on other pieces of Microsoft Software that you cannot even install them without upgrading all of the pieces first.

Here is an example; To assist our software development team I was looking at a tool such as Visual Studio Team System, the server price and the client access license (CAL) price is at least reasonably priced. Then you look deeper – The software won’t work at all with my version of Windows Server, so we have to add in a Windows Server upgrade price and server CAL’s. Next – oh it won’t work with my version of MS SQL Server, Lets add in MS SQL Server upgrade price with CAL’s. So the “reasonable” price has now mushroomed into a price that I can no longer afford.

I wonder if I can find a hosted model of this yet? Let them worry about all the other infrastructure upgrades required to get it working.

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2 Responses to “Why Can’t I buy Software “Programs” Anymore?”

  1. elliotross Says:

    In your use of that tool, did you decide to bring it internal? or have it maintained and hosted within their data center?

    Could you give your reasons?

  2. berniestein2001 Says:

    When looking for time tracking and payroll software we had the same questions. We decided on Pacific Timesheet (http://www.pacifictimesheet.com/) in part because they provided a “Have it your way” model – we could use the hosted service, or buy a licensed version and self-host it. On top of that they give us our choice of platforms (Win, Mac or Linux) as well as databases (MySQL, SQL Server or Oracle). I wish more vendors would embrace choice.

    Regards,
    Bernie Stein
    Stein and Associates


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