Posted by: Mathu Nganga
Google, Google Apps, Microsoft
Could the cloud have finally caught up with digital piracy? Can the developer finally have what is owed to them? With the advent of software development came a new kind of property rights i.e. the protection of ones intellectual property. Millions of developers punch out gazillion lines of code every year and yet go home without anything due to others picking it up and distributing it all over- you don’t see original Pablo Picasso, Michael Angelo and Leonardo Davinci master pieces being photocopied and everyone hanging them on their walls as originals, development is also Art. The same goes for digital media, if I took time to make it so it can bring some productivity to your life please pay up.
Many software houses have tried to use the key to try and lock up software and many a times crackers have opened more and more sites to try and bit them. The same software companies have even tried using the internet without much success there, ask Digital rights management tools from Microsoft and its gaming software protection software that makes you verify on the internet every couple of days, its sends the legitimate users to the pirates just to help them play without the internet.
Now with a new licensing policy(pay as you go or as you use) and a bit of ingenuity I believe the market leaders in Cloud Computing- SalesForce and Google- have finally bitten the Pirates, or have they? How do you ask might they have done this?
First: By keeping everything on the cloud, all software is developed and stored away safely on their server farms in all their data warehouses spread around the world and hence not giving the pirates a chance too look under the hood to find out what can be ripped off. Hence no code is coming through your processor hence no chance for hackers to reverse engineer the binary code or break-it down as it goes into the processor. As my computer science lecture always remarked ” as long as it is going to the processor it will always be hacked”. So as long as their server act like this large mainframes and everything is processed server end they are safe.
Second: You pay for what you use, this is has always been a selling point for the masses, you buy what you need for yourself its basic as human nature. The problem with many other software licensing model, which I personally think need to change since they are broken is that everyone pays the same price whether your are a large cooperation or a small enterprise or a user seating at home. If they split it into all this categories then you get the short end of the stick, by getting some watered down version of the original software forcing you either to cough up more money or head the software piracy way, its a thin line. What happened to economies of scale the more people using it the cheaper it gets? That I believe is simple logic, if I’m making pizza and it cost me x (a constant) to make I should maybe sell it for 1.5X to break even on 100 pizzas and get something back so I can make more pizza or make better variety, but if my pizza is being bought by all Chinese 1 billion of them then maybe I can do with a bit less, and decide I can sell it for 1.2X since 1.2x by 1 billion far out ways 1.5x by 100, note here my X is not changing no more input is needed to serve 100 or 1billion, I’ll let you be the judge of that. That where the cloud licensing module is selling, economies of scale,
Third: Another area the cloud is getting my vote is license buying, I buy as many as I need to use today and I can keep truck of what I’m using, the old licensing model is too close to call. This is how it works, I get CD I Pay for 100 User licenses, If I install it in 101 User PC, then that’s a serious license violation and I’m pirating, however if my numbers go down to 99 we are cool, so I need to spend more to keep within my limits??? Well for the cloud I can decide early on what I need and I can regulate and reduce the numbers, don’t need to buy some expensive software to tell me what I’m using on my network and the beauty of it I will never be over licensed, reducing my exposure.
Fourth: I don’t have to buy so many peripherals or need anyone that will bump up my expenditure to make it work. With the current traditional software it does not just stop at buying it, I have to budget for buying some expensive hardware to run it on, then I can’t get away with just that I have to have a number of well trained and qualified friends hanging around me to install it and get it working right, and call them in ever so often to show me where what is. Then I will still call in my friends to upgrade it every couple of years or to reinstall it if it doesn’t work like its supposed to, and it this point my friend stops being a friend and I have to cough up some money and call him an Administrator. Well funny enough when I’m upgrading they will tell me I need better and newer hardware which makes me wonder is it a conspiracy?
Fifth: This is my personal best you give your fellow developers the chance to make some money off it simply and create a market and integration where they can also add value to your current software release, where you might have missed out or did not have the time to go into it. If you ask me get the hackers earning money in a different way and keep them of your back end, and the feeling that you are making too much money. By providing them with a PAAS (Plaform AS A service) to keep their heads busy and directing their energies to something more productive than curiosity. You ask why the Iphone is such a hit, it’s because the developers can make money of it, so they will buy a number to test and then make some super apps to work on it and get more people loving it, everybody then loves it, Same concept goes for the cloud.
As with all things economic, where there is always a willing buyer and a willing seller balancing out the demand and supply and there for making a Market, but get rid of one and you reduce the other, however it will always be in the background, kill both and you’ve killed the market hence piracy.