|Packaging 101||- by Gilbert Pili|
As the holidays leave us, and having done my share of gift wrapping this year, I got to thinking about how the software industry has refined the art of packaging. Microsoft has it down to perfection; so do Lotus and Corel. Just take a look at the Microsoft Office box. Impressive, isn't it? And how about those beautiful colors in the SmartSuite package? Makes you want to dig in and start flipping through the manuals, registration coupons and special offers almost as much as throwing in the CD-ROM and watching that nifty blue "percent installed" line cross the screen. When it comes right down to it, the software packager gets to play Santa year round -- a fun job, but one that takes a good deal of thought and work.
So why doesn't IBM and much of the OS/2 community get it? What's missing in the OS/2 "package?" Picture the following scenarios:
- Object Desktop
- A multimedia encyclopedia
- SmartSuite or Star Office for OS/2
- The OS/2 internet suite (close to as it is now, but more integrated)
- Galactic Civilizations, Avarice and/or Trials of Battle
- Complete MWave support
- Netscape for OS/2
- A professional looking PIM and money manager
- OS/2 versions of same type of extra stuff that comes on the Win95 preload (i.e., educational games, Wav/Mod players, a cool multimedia introduction to OS/2)
In other words, load the sucker up!
IBM seems to be full of dreamers.
They believe that if they preload Windows 95 and NT, and that if they take their time getting the mix and match Windows/Warp pieces of SmartSuite released, and that if they ignore all the ISV's who want to do good work for the OS/2 platform, that Warp will sell anyway. They believe that consumers must not want a nice box of OS/2 stuff under the Christmas tree, and that even if they did, consumers aren't a good way to gain anything more than a small piece of the market.
Let's get one thing straight here: did Microsoft grab 90% of the PC software market by selling their software only to business? Nope. They made it pretty, packaged it, and sold it to the home user. When all your workers are raving about the fun (yes, fun) platform they have on their home PCs, the pressure is on the business to use it in the workplace. IBM has it 100% backwards when they say it's foolish to sell to the consumer.
One user on comp.os.os2.advacacy put it nicely: even business users want their applications to be fun, nice-looking and useful. It's what makes them want to use the apps in the first place. Really, the biggest difference between Microsoft and IBM's software approach is that Microsoft isn't arrogant enough to believe that software should sell itself.
If they really want to succeed with consumer software, IBM (or more specifically, PSP) could easily create as slick an OS/2 preload package for the Aptiva as the Win95 package. If the stuff works out of the box, the customer isn't going to complain about having OS/2 instead of Win95 on their machine. Lou Gerstner should direct Software Solutions and PSP to do the up-front work for the PC Co.; let them create the Ultimate OS/2 Preload Package and get it on their own machines, and maybe, just maybe, the other companies might start preloading it, too.
If IBM isn't willing to get behind this simple -- and realistic -- goal, they should get out of consumer software altogether, and stick to programming mainframes.
When it comes down to it, success with OS/2 should come from one simple idea: make opening the package just like Christmas morning.
[Our Sponsor: ChipChat Tech. Group - 32-bit OS/2 text paging software and Sound Cards.]
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Copyright © 1997 - Falcon Networking