The ancillary market is the market.

The software is free, but the manual is $10,000. That's no joke. Cygnus Solutions, based in Sunnyvale, California, rakes in $20 million per year in revenues selling support for free Unix-like software. Apache is free but you can buy support and upgrades from C2Net. Although Novell, the network provider, does sell network software, that's not what they are really selling, says Esther Dyson: "What Novell Inc. really is selling is its certified NetWare engineers, instructors, and administrators, and the next release of NetWare." One educational software exec admitted that his company's help line was actually an important profit center. Their main market was the ancillary products they sold for their flagship software, which they had a chance to do while helping customers.



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This is a blog version of a book of mine first published in 1998. I am re-issuing it (two posts per week) unaltered on its 10th anniversary. Comments welcomed. More details here.
-- KK