Every once in a while, it's useful to walk down memory lane and read a great analysis from the past. In this case, I stumbled across a r0ml Lefkowitz paper written way back in 2005, and was reminded just how brilliant r0ml is (now the CTO at Asurion, a billion-dollar insurance company).
In this classic article, r0ml discovers that proprietary software buyers actually place a huge amount of value on the maintenance and support aspect of the software they buy. Buying simply a perpetual license is actually not worth very much to them, which leads, of course, to the value of the open-source licensing model:
When I informally polled enterprise software buyers about what they would pay for software given that they wouldn't be able to buy any maintenance for it (as a middleman, I'd be selling that to somebody else), the universal response was that they would pay much less than the license--implying that the option to buy maintenance was clearly a significant fraction of the price....… Read more