In talking with a large enterprise buyer today, I was struck by an argument he used against subscription models, open source and otherwise. Granted, he was negotiating and I've heard the inverse argument from others, but he had a good point.
The point? That an upfront proprietary license might actually work better for some IT buyers.
Subscription value is clear: The vendor is tasked with delivering constant software and support to earn the customer's business on a daily basis. No sell-them-and-run deals. It completely changes the way vendors engage with their customers.
But on the IT buyer's side, a subscription's price is likely to be higher on an annual basis than the maintenance on a proprietary license. In the first year, a subscription is dramatically cheaper. But over five years...? Or how about just in the second year, or third? It's no longer so clear-cut.
What is clear is when the vendor takes their profit: Upfront in the case of license-based businesses, and in the future in the case of subscription-based businesses. It's that niggling question of the future that may be problematic for open-source businesses.… Read more