Perceived Benefits (was Re: 28.8 Modem Users)

Subject: Perceived Benefits (was Re: 28.8 Modem Users)
From: "John Fleming" <johnf -at- ecn -dot- ab -dot- ca>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 6 Jan 2001 16:06:40 -0700

Subject: Re: 28.8 Modem Users
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 05 Jan 2001 14:08:21 -0800
X-Message-Number: 102


> Maybe this is a side issue, but has anyone else noticed that
> upgrades are a refinement of planned obsolesence, rarely delivering
> the high-tech paradise they promise? Ethical issues aside, I've
> noticed an increasing resistence to upgrades over the last five
> years, and I wonder if it isn't going to become greater. If enough
> people refuse to upgrade without a tangible benefit, then backwards
> compatibility may become more of an issue.

I think you may be right.

And I think it may be related to something else I've seen over the
past year.

I've noticed Dell advertises home systems that come with Microsoft
Works instead of Microsoft Office. It's been years since I used
Works, but unless something's radically changed, Works has nowhere
near the features that are available in Office.

Both of these, I think, boil down to the same thing. People are not
going to shell out good money where there is no perceived benefit.

In the case of resistance to upgrades, people don't see a need to
purchase upgrades if their current software already meets their needs
adequately. Money not spent on software upgrades is money that is
available for other things--like a trip to Hawaii.

In the case of home PCs coming with Works instead of Office, most
consumers won't see a benefit formulas in a spreadsheet that are only
of value to an engineer or an accountant. Who cares if the
spreadsheet has formulas for calculating Bessel functions if all you
are only going to use it for is making phone lists?

That said, I think the issue that will drive upgrades more in the
future is compatibility. The recent court case against Microsoft has,
IMO, given Microsoft's competitors a bit of breathing room. If these
companies can really capitalize on this, many upgrades may be geared
to increased ability to interact with other companies' software. In
other words, can your word processor read files created in Word, Word
Perfect, and Word Pro? And not just the versions that were available
five years ago. Or can it only read files created in Word?


John Fleming
Technical Writer
Edmonton, Alberta
email: johnf -at- ecn -dot- ab -dot- ca

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