Wait, wasn’t cloud supposed to end shelfware?


Back in the olden days, when companies had to buy lots of shrink-wrapped software, vendors used bundles of four or five or more applications — Microsoft(s msft) Office or Back Office, Lotus(s ibm) SmartSuite — as well as volume discounts to sell a boatload of bits at a big discount. People bought, but they also ended up with rights to a lot more software than they needed (or ever used).

A common sight in those days was stockpiles of actual boxes — shrink-wrap unbroken — in storerooms, bought and paid for, but unused. Later, when companies started deploying from servers, the piles may have disappeared, but the impact was the same: A lot of those software licenses lay fallow. This might have been good for the vendor initially, but it was a ticking time bomb. Customers started to wonder just how great a deal they really got and (god forbid) to question the value of the…

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