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On 11-30-93, Greg Arahonian posted to All:

GA>     Rational recently announced that it was reselling two Ada products
  > from third-party vendors.  While I applaud such efforts, especially
  > given the neglect over the last ten years towards the Ada third party
  > business, I am curious about the pricing rationale for the two projects
  > ( is writing that "I am curious about ...." polite enough :-)

[...stuff omitted...]

GA>     When you can get similar GUI generating tools for PCs/workstation
  > for C/C++ for one tenth the cost, and some pretty decent public domain
  > tools off the Internet for free, a $6,000 pricing level does not seem
  > to be in the spirit of competition, but more in the spirit of
  > optimizing income where a monopolistic policy's distortions have led to
  > supply-demand equilibrium curves far from traditional market
  > equilibrium curves (is writing that a polite enough euphemism for
  > 'gouging' :-)   In an era of programs like Visual C++, Visual Basic,
  > Realizer and others, $6,000 is too much for an Ada equivalent.

Greg, while I agree that $6K is a bit much for a GUI builder, even one as
nice as Screen Machine, I understand that this is a "workstation" product,
and thus runs on UNIX.  In case you have not been paying attention recently,
UNIX vendors have been getting and are very comfortable (read "fat and very
happy") with margins in the 30-50% range.  In the PC world, where standards
rule with a vengence, price competition has driven margins down to those of
grocery stores.

As I believe that the days of user-visable UNIX are numbered (low numbers,
at that), I think that even those who have been most vocal in arguing that
"by '95, 95% of all programmers will be running on UNIX" are beginning to
recognize that a) this is not happening, b) this is not going to happen,
and c) even with all of the effort devoted to COSE, when the UNIX market
shrinks enough, the feeding frenzy will begin.  Price competition will
devastate the UNIX market, a market characterized by a very expensive cost
of sales and a very people-intensive sales force.

Recent statistics show that although UNIX numbers are rising, the derivative
has gone negative and it is losing effective market share.  Efforts to hide
UNIX with a thin veneer of "user-friendliness" alone cannot be successful
until the vendors come to grips with the reality of competition in a market
of truly interchangable parts.  The "Open System" claim is becoming more
widely recognized as nothing more than a code word for vendor-specific
versions of a proprietary operating system providing these vendors with the
opportunity to gouge their customers by locking them in to their proprietary

In the end, the consumers (even the consumers of Ada compilers!) will
benefit.  After all, if the workstation/UNIX vendors ever actually became
serious about standardization, the consumer could buy his computing power
by the watt, just like lightbulbs.  In the meantime, until that standardi-
zation occurs, prices for workstation products will remain artificially
high and this segment of the market will not grow at any where near the
rate of the PC market.  I am not saying that standardization is the norm
in the PC market, however, the velocity and volitility of this market tends
to drive pretenders out pretty quickly.

Oh, BTW, just as if to confirm what I have written, I noticed a flyer from
Meridian offering their 16-bit DOS, Windows and Mac compilers for $199 thru
the end of the year.  These prices are in line with end-of-the-year sale
prices for other DOS/Windows compilers.  Not eating quiche, I don't know
what Mac prices are...  Although I paid substantially more for my Meridian
compiler much earlier, I have gotten good use out of it and am relatively
happy with it.  Coupled with AdaSAGE, the compiler is a formidible tool.

 * MR/2 1.60x #63 * Pi R squared. Nooo!  Pie R round, Corn bread R squared!
 * [R2.00o] * Usenet * Nitelog BBS * Monterey CA * 408-655-1096

Mon, 20 May 1996 10:20:00 GMT  
 [ 1 post ] 

 Relevant Pages 

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