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Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Growth of Software as a Service

Back in the day software was something only the IT man was concerned with, and the choice of programmes was rather limited to what were seen as essential computing needs such as Word Processing and Spreadsheets and the like. But with the computer and mobile devices now an essential part of almost everyone’s daily lives, software too has grown to become a massive industry in itself.

Some of the software titles most of us would have been familiar with in the past might have included Microsoft Office, accounting packages like Quickbooks and illustration programmes such as Photoshop. All of these software packages have evolved and been updated many times, with current versions being almost unrecognizable to the original releases. For some, keeping up with the latest release of Microsoft Office or Photoshop is a hobby in itself.

In the past certain companies would hold a monopoly over their field for the software market, but that is no longer the case thanks to thousands of clever programmers dissecting the internet to create their own, cheaper versions of software for people to buy or download. This is great news fro anyone on a budget. Spending out on software just to find it is suddenly out of date due to a new update or release is never fun.

Open-source or free software has become particularly popular, and there are a lot of site on the web dedicating to listing free software downloads. Many internet users campaign for all software to be freely available to download on the web, but of course the developers aren’t always in favor of this and many still charge a high amount for use of their licenses. A typical example of this is Anti-virus software. Because consumers need to be able to trust their anti-virus software they are willing to pay good money for an established brand and name they have heard of.

On the contrary to this, providers of other professional software services have now realized that consumers enjoy using software for free and it is possible to get basic free accounting software, free illustration packages and of course very many free games and time management applications for both the PC and the mobile environment.

With some free software, users are simply treated to a basic working version for their personal use. The trick for the software companies to draw in an income from new customers is to offer a support system for a small monthly fee. This is where software becomes a service. It’s not just about having the software to use, it’s about having a person behind the application who can help you to make the most of the programme and be on hand in case anything goes wrong. Another way the software companies are making money is to offer Premium upgrades on their tools. So if a consumer likes a software tool they have been using to help manage their business accounts, they can purchase the programme in full to roll it out amongst all of their staff.

The saying “there’s an app for that” is more true than ever. It’s exciting to think what software can do for us in the future as the line between real and virtual simulated life becomes more and more blurred.

Katie Sykes is a Digital Marketing professional who enjoys using a variety of different software to manage her work flow. Katie advises on small business SEO and time management.

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