The controversial pony-tailed ex-boss of Sun, Jonathan Schwartz, has started up a subscription-based social media site for carers. He announced the debut of CareZone – co-founded with Walter Smith, an ex-Apple and Microsoft guy – today. Smith will act as CareZone's chief technology officer while Shwartz will be its CEO. The pair …
When he had the chance to make money off people who had it and didn't need it, he gave the software away.
Now, he wants to charge caregivers $180 a year for access to a website.
Now.. I'll admit up front; I'm an ex Sun fan & customer (thus biased). But having said that....
While what you say is true wrt free software there's more to it IMO. Because there is one thing Sun didn't have going right and that was marketing. Some of their software products were plain out amazing! (IMO of course). I actively used Sun Java webserver; it could compete with Apache, it had a pretty cool web interface for configuration while /also/ fully supporting CLI. Best of both worlds. And obviously; a Java engine.
Sun Java System Web proxy server ? I could even make it pre-cache websites (in the morning) of which it had noticed that they were heavily visited. Even Squid never had this feature! And believe me; due to the dynamic (flexible) nature of the setup it managed to catch a lot of data while still making sure it would remain up to date.
"Free software". Sure.. You're right. But you're ignoring the fact that even despite these (IMO) extensive features most people didn't know this stuff even existed. Sun wasn't very good at marketing (IMO) so what's the next alternative ?
In the end your best bet is to appeal to home / hobby users and try to get those to learn about your stuff. And the best way to do that is presenting freebies. Sometimes the opinion or preference of a home / hobby user can go in deep and different ways. And lets be fair; its not as if this marketing scheme is something only modern companies have come up with...
WordPerfect, back in the "good ole 5.1 days". Where you had to cough an amount of money for a single wordprocessor which would now easily buy you MS Office Professional Plus (which isn't cheap!). Guess what? Employee's of a company which was using WordPerfect were allowed to copy the software and use it at home. No matter if it was for work, private or fun. If your boss had WP you could copy & use it without violating licenses.
Its not as if Sun went crazy here...
Like many of the things he did at SUN, this seems to be a solution chasing a problem (he should watch Dragon's Den to find the general opinion of those...). People seem to have got by quite well with lists on paper and I just can't see anyone paying for this (though I'm happy to be proved wrong). Personally with those whose care I hope with, I'd rather spend the extra $5 a month on the individual being cared for.
Still at least this time he's learnt and is trying to charge for something...
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