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CNET News.com: Torvalds: Software subscriptions doomed

May 12, 2001, 19:00 (38 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Michael Kanellos)

Linus has weighed in on software subscription, something pushed to the fore of late by Microsoft's "software assurance program," which pushes purchasers away from owning the shrinkwrap they buy and more toward renting it. "Everyone wants to go into this 'Let's not sell software. Let's license it,' but that's horrible," Torvalds said. "It is the most stupid thing because nobody wants it." The article comes with a video clip.

These strategies are doomed to failure for a number of reasons, Torvalds said. Companies want to charge too much, and consumers don't need to upgrade their software as fast as they used to. Besides, human nature also abhors a rental.

"There's one and only one reason (subscriptions) is the perfect kind of business to be in," he said. "It is an infinite revenue stream." "I don't think (subscriptions) will go away, but they will be much more rare, and you can't gouge people."

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