Mar. 27th, 2008

jackofallgeeks: (Default)
So there's an article Here
about Microsoftbranishing it's patents at the Open Source community and
saying, "hey, liscencing fees are just how you do business." It's really
all quite dull and I imagine none of you are interested (even *I* didn't
finish the article, and I care about some of this stuff). But somewhere in
there the Microsoft rep has a line about how, "what gives me pause is the
premise that: 'Make the stuff expensive or free, but don't make it cheap' -
I don't buy that. We should price things according to their value and in a
way that will work for the industry and customers as a whole."

The thorn that really sticks me there is that "we should price things
according to their value." Now, I've never actually taken a economics class
(though I'd like to; yeah, I'm that sort of masochist), as I
understand it the driving forces for price ae supply and demand, not value.
There are LOTS of things that have value but little to no cost. The
most-strawman of these is air: it's ultimately valuable but costs nothing
because, well, it's *everywhere*. I think a good book is *significantly*
more valuable than a DVD, but unless you've got a quality collector's
edition the DVD often costs 4x as much. There are other examples out there
of valuable things being priced low and less-valuable stuff being priced
high because of the whole supply/damand thing.

To insist that just because something is valuable is should be "priced to
reflect that" or something isn't just dumb, I'd say it's dangerous. At the
very least it's not sustainable: all it takes is for someone else to sell it
for less and you're out of business. (Which is where patents become a
problem: if someone becomes more successful than you, you sue. This is the
threat that a disk-drive manufacturer is making against sold-state drives.
SSDs are higher-capacity and speed than traditional harddrives, but the
harddrive manufactureres own patents on how drives interface with the rest
of the computer, and so they'll sue for infringment on those patends if SSDs
get big; and they will get big.)



jackofallgeeks: (Default)
John Noble

August 2012

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