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Terminating products

  Some people have expressed concern about the continuing support burden of products we decide to terminate because of bad sales. This is a non-issue. When a product is terminated, support of it is terminated and those who inquire are simply told ``that product is discontinued''. Only in the computer business does the insane idea that by buying a $300 product (or, for heaven's sake, a $35 product) entitle the purchaser to all products of the implementor's mind unto eternity and unlimited free consultation at the press of a touchtone button. If you buy a refrigerator, you don't expect to get a new one every 6 months because a new model comes out, and the same thing holds here. We warrant the product will agree with the manual and will work for, say, 6 months after purchase. When that expires, our connection with that product is totally severed. We may choose to offer existing customers a good deal on new versions, but that is a marketing tactic, not a moral imperative! If we find the mass market we seek, we can't afford to talk to one in a hundred end users. We have to make the software work in such a way, supported by the manuals, that users can use the package on their own, and provide the aids to those who distribute the software so that they can answer user questions locally. This isn't impossible: numerous products meeting this criterion sell well currently. So, when we terminate a product, it's done.

Editor: John Walker