1-2 vs unlimited licenses (Unix for a 386)

Dick Dunn rcd at ico.ISC.COM
Tue Aug 22 14:30:26 AEST 1989

It began with:
> | "  I really would like to express my displeasure to the marketing bozo's
> | "  who ever came up with this idea of 1-2 user versions of UNIX.

Darryl answered that it's not an ISC idea:
> | Talk to AT&T.  This is their idea.  We wouldn't have bothered with it
> | (I believe) if their lawyers hadn't decided to make us do it.  It's
> | their scheme and their implementation.

Bill Davidsen objects:
>   I doubt that AT&T "made you do it." You say they get a higher royalty
> for the unlimited version, why would they force you to offer a less
> expensive version?

OK, let's turn it around so you will have a harder time avoiding under-
standing it:  They force us to charge more for a system which allows more
than 2 users.  We have to offer licenses in two classes because:
	- We have to offer the 1-2 user license due to economic pressure.
	  Someone who's shopping among 386 UNIX vendors, particularly for a
	  single-user system, will look at price.  If we can pay AT&T
	  less, we can maintain margin and sell the system cheaper.
	- We have to offer the >2 user license because people want multi-
	  user systems.  AT&T charges us more, so we charge more.

>   As far as I know every vendor who offers the 2 user version also
> offers the unlimited. Why do people think that there is something wrong
> with having the option of buying something less expensive?

The 1-2 user system costs $X.  For $dx more, you get a system which is
**virtually identical** to the 1-2 user system, except that it will let
more than two people log in.  The ONLY change is the login limit.  If you
want to look at it as getting a 1-2 user system for $dx less than an
unlimited-login system with all the other capabilities the same, fine.
I look at it as paying $dx more to have an unnecessary restriction removed
from the system.

It's as if you could buy a car with a governor to prevent it from going
over 45 mph, or the same car for $2000 more without the governor.  It's a
time-honored practice in the computer industry (anybody remember the IBM
407?)--selling hardware or software with a "crippler" at a cheaper price,
then charging for the "upgrade" which removes the crippling.  But customers
still chafe at the practice, and justifiably so.  Darryl's point is that
ISC is simply passing along AT&T's price-tiering--to do otherwise we'd
either have to cut into the margin on the multiuser systems or inflate our
profit on the 1-2's.
Dick Dunn     rcd at ico.isc.com    uucp: {ncar,nbires}!ico!rcd     (303)449-2870
   ...Are you making this up as you go along?

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