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Modern Problems

Problems are only opportunities in working clothes.

--Henry J. Kaiser

The large scale, value per dollar, wide distribution, and strong marketing of the new generation of software products reflects ongoing changes in the way the software industry goes about its business. As markets have broadened, revenue has grown, and companies have matured from small bands of moonlighting entrepreneurs to members of the Standard&Poor's 500, the scale of the resources they invest both in the development and launch of new products and the ongoing support of already-successful products has grown apace. Notwithstanding the inefficiencies inherent in doing things on a larger scale, the fact remains that a major release of a modern software product simply reflects many more man-hours of labour and dollars of capital investment than products of a few years ago. There is a lot more software in the box, software that meets or exceeds the ever-rising expectations of an increasingly discriminating community of users, because more people worked more hours using better tools to put it there, and when that software reaches the market, it is supported by a vigorous, comprehensive, and thoroughly professional promotional campaign, both at the time of introduction and throughout the subsequent product life cycle.

Except at Autodesk, where I believe this process has broken down.

Editor: John Walker