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Re: Symbolics Marketing Strategy

  From: dmitchell@backus.trc.amoco.com (Donald H. Mitchell)
  Subject: Re: Symbolics Marketing Strategy
  To: miller@CS.ROCHESTER.EDU, dmitchell@backus.trc.amoco.com
  Cc: taylor@CHARON.arc.nasa.gov, slug@sri.com
  Status: R
    Date: Thu, 25 Jan 90 11:50 EST
    From: Brad Miller <miller@CS.ROCHESTER.EDU>
  Date: Thu, 25 Jan 90 08:08 CST
  From: dmitchell@backus.trc.amoco.com (Donald H. Mitchell)
  I strongly second the idea that CLIM ought to be bundled (perhaps
  eventually becoming THE interface). 
    The problem I see with this strategy is that it reinforces the idea that
    Symbolics has to make their money on the hardware. People buy their systems
    for the software, and NOT the hardware. I'd much rather see them price their
    software according to what the market will bear, and make it available on a
    variety of platforms. Concordia, for instance, needs to be price competitve
    and marketed as an alternative to FrameMaker.

  I agree and that's what I said in my note  (with the exception for CLIM which
  I feel should become part of the basic system).  It seems a joke, however, for
  an academic to talk of fair pricing given the academic discount for these
  products (you don't pay $15K each).  Certainly, FrameMaker is NOT $15K but
  pretty close to an order of magnitude less.

I agree with Brad: "price their software to what the market will bear". The
academic discount may look great to you, but from within academia, it is
near impossible to justify any money for something like Concordia. However,
if you give it to us, we'll put users in front of it and make it more
valuable by (a) enlarging the user base (b) putting it in front of creative
users who'll put it to creative use (without the academic community, unix
would be asleep in a closet somewhere - and if it wasn't free, the academic
community would have had no use for it) and (c) making future demand by
people who will have the money to spend. Yes, we've said this to Symbolics
many times ...

Another idea which I've put forward is that they could bundle all new
layered products (and the entire software library for new customers) in an
initial distribution. Then you have a version which is not supported, but
which will probably not need any support for a year or so. Hence you can
try it out. If its useful, then you can sign up for support (updates) and
pay an initial purchase fee, as well. This would help "advertise" it, but
the price still has to be right, as Brad points out. This also has not gone
over, but I repeat it every once in awhile.