This topic has come up for discussion several times in the past and Microsoft
has said they
are not all that sure about it. But I want to touch this topic without appearing
to be repetitive because this post will form the basis for another article I
will post next week.
In my opinion, SaaS will reduce piracy to a great extent. There are two
reasons for this belief.
- Many SaaS providers offer free services or freemium services. When they have
applications available for free of charge, there is no incentive for piracy. In
the old days of traditional software, important applications were seldom
available for free. I don’t condone piracy but, at the same time, we have to
accept that the pricing structure of some of the software packages were
ridiculously high. In many countries, the price of Microsoft Office is several
orders of magnitude more than the annual income of the big chunk of population.
Such stupid pricing structure is one of the biggest reasons for the existence of
pirated software. In SaaS, the pricing structure is much more saner than the
traditional world. In fact, many companies like Google offer the software for
free even though many of us feel that the free model is not sustainable by
every company in the world. Average consumers and small business users, who
usually fall prey to the lure of pirated software, have a legitimate chance to
use “unpirated applications” in the SaaS world.
- Unlike the traditional software world, SaaS applications are offered as a
service hosted in huge data centers in a remote location. The only way to use
these applications is to sign up for the service and authenticating the login
with a username and passwd (or using OpenID kind of identity services). Even if
someone manage to download the whole SaaS application code, they need to spend
lot of money on the infrastructure to host it. There is absolutely no incentive
to go in for piracy.
In the traditional software world, we had limited choices because there were
not many companies willing to develop the same office or accounting software if
the marketplace already had another competing company a with huge marketshare.
The total cost involved in the development of software to putting it on the
shelves of retail stores were huge and no one wanted to take chances when there
is a big player with tremendous marketshare (like Microsoft in the case of
Office Suite). Even if some company decides to compete, there is no way they
could offer the software for cheap because of the costs involved. This has
changed with the evolution of SaaS world. There are not many players with
Microsoft-like marketshare in the field. Plus, the cost of development and
deployment is so low and we are seeing many players offering the same kind of
applications. This competition has lead to innovative pricing models like
advertisement based free and freemium offerings. As long as such applications
are available for free, there is absolutely no incentive to go for the pirated
software. In my opinion, SaaS is one surefire way to curb software piracy.
Related articles by
- Does Microsoft’s
Plan To Sell Software As A Service Make Sense?
to get aggressive with Apps suite
Office streaming price too high to compete with Google Apps, some partners
Live, you’re no Google Docs
Live Workspace tops one million users
adds YouTube-like service to Apps suite
Office 2007 price drops 70% to combat piracy
starts selling Office subscriptions through Circuit City [Software]
$1 of piracy = $5.50 in “lost opportunities”
- Microsoft is Freeing Users from Office-Prison
cracks down on software piracy