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Re: Software License Transferral fee is reasonable if you consider...

    Date: 4 Apr 89 12:30
    From: reith%hannah.DEC@decwrl.dec.com (Jim Reith DTN: 235-8459

    I worked at Symbolics for 4.5 years starting in 83 and even back then there
    was a software transferal fee of $10k. 

Sorry, my January 1, 1987, Symbolics price list shows SLIC-TRANS cost $3K
(before discount).  We complained a lot when they went up to $10K as we
were about to buy some (more) used machines.  Symbolics has, in the
past, been able to sell some used machines for not much more than the
license transfer fee.

There are several effects of this (relatively high) fee.  The value of
used machines is practically 0.  Don't buy a machine figuring you can
sell it off.  (Some businesses have found this out the hard way but I
won't mention any names.)

Recently we had a chance to buy some used machines at very attractive
prices.  The idea around here was to buy 3 or so and only run 1 at home
(as a personal machine) with the others as spare parts.  I didn't talk
to our salesman, but what I understand from someone who did, was that if
I wanted to do that, I'd have to pay the $10K license transfer fee
(remember that I'm only running one machine).  Never mind that I was not
doing this as a business.  I'd have to pay the same fee as, say, {big
unnamed company} (uhhh....  except they have all these lawyers and
probably would never pay any fees to Symbolics anyway.)

Symbolics could have (and possibly still could) open up a small market of
hackers who want their own machine at home.  They probably wouldn't make
money off them directly, but those hackers would probably cause Symbolics
to become stronger.

The way a company survives in a limited market is NOT by sticking it to
current users of older products; it is by making a better product so
those users find the money to go to the new generation.  I have found
little/no reason to move from a 3600 to 3670 to 3640 to 3650 to
MacIvory.  Even the XL400 is only a slight (2x? -- I haven't tested one)
improvement, considering the years.  (But note how almost every one has
moved up with each new software release (with some complaints for 7.0).)

I'm not a lawyer, but I imagine there are all sorts of legal ways around the
license transfer fee (eg, don't sell the machine, put it on an
indefinite lease for a fixed, one-time fee).  Also, with this fee,
couldn't companies take a $10K depreciation hit on the machine as soon
as they bought a machine?  (Don't bother anwering that, I'm not really
interested in the answer.)

Also, the transfer fee of $10K is *cheaper* than some of the individual
software license (eg, Joshua).  Looks like buying a machine may be a
cheaper way of getting the software than buying it from Symbolics
directly (if you find a party that wants to sell off the machine and