Trevor's Rant!- by Trevor Smith

Did you ever wonder what the reason is behind the relative lack of native OS/2 applications? I have.

On a recent camping trip, my girlfriend and I were discussing it and I realized something. The argument that most people use to justify not developing for OS/2 is a crock! This is how I see it after a year of looking and listening.

If there are roughly 60 million users of Windows 3.x (which I'm guessing is realistic) and roughly 4 million copies of Warp have been sold since its release then there is really no difference which OS you develop for. In fact, if you are not one of the 4 or 5 largest software houses, then because of marketing momentum, media attention, etc, it would probably be better to develop for Warp than for Windows - and that includes Windows '95! Here's why:

Any small or medium sized software company would be foolish to think they could grab more than 5% of any existing software category in the Windows world. If half of Windows users are in the market for their application that makes 5% of 30 million which is 1.5 million copies. A fair amount, but read on.

If, on the other hand, they were to concentrate on an OS/2 version of the same product and the same amount of the OS/2 world needed a native product then they would have a potential market of 2 million (50% of 4 million). Obviously there is already competition in some markets, but many are still wide open. Suppose they did a bang-up job and captured 80% of their potential buyers. That's 80% of 2 million, or 1.6 million copies. You do the math.

Obviously it sounds better to claim, "Over 80% of OS/2 users choose our software!" than, "Over 5% of Windows users choose our software!" (yippee). Not to mention the fact that supplying even one key field with a high quality application would be guaranteed to spur further sales of OS/2 which would in turn increase your profits.

Don't take my word for all this. Brad Wardell, everpresent representative on the 'net of Stardock Systems, posted a message to comp.os.os2.apps claiming the following about Object Desktop: "We've sold ~33,000 licenses in a single week so you can imagine the logistics we're going through." Now I'm not privy to Stardock's wholesale pricing, but I'd bet they're getting between $US 30 and $US 40 a pop. It doesn't take a degree from MIT to figure out those numbers but in case you need me to tell you, that's between $US 990,000 and $US 1,320,000 in one week! Still think I'm crazy?

So what about the rest of you guys? Stop following the magic cow from Redmond and take the logical step. You'll only be helping yourselves.

Trevor Smith is the president of Haligonian Media and the editor of OS/2 e-Zine!, Haligonia, and outdoor Nova Scotia!. He has been using OS/2 only since Warp was released but makes up for experience with entusiasm.

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