Quality Depression

2003-03-14

Shane McChesney may not blog all that often, but his posts are of such high quality that they're worth reading twice. His latest post is entitled the quality depression, in which he points out that the improving quality of products, software, and services is driving down demand and therefore dragging down profits and growth. We can see this trend in computers (do you really need a new machine?), cars (lasting longer than ever), and many other items. He makes an interesting connection to open-source software, too: in this space, a quality offering is nearly free, which is seriously endangering a number of formerly high-flying companies (Sun in particular seems to be taking a beating, but even mighty Microsoft regards Linux as one of its primary threats). The problem for these companies (though not for your average business or end-user) is that open-source software is insidiously ubiquitous and permanently free. Some companies are adapting well to this new world (e.g., both HP and IBM earn large amounts of money from open-source related services) but others may not survive if they are too tied to old, proprietary ways of thinking (e.g., any Unix variant other than Linux is rather rapidly becoming a legacy OS). In a similar fashion, here in the Jabber world we like to refer to AIM, ICQ, MSN, and Yahoo as legacy IM systems. The jibe is only half-joking. Given the incredible growth of Jabber over the last three years (and believe me, this is only the beginning -- we're just starting to reach the steep part of the S-curve), I find it hard to see how the legacy IM systems can survive forever. You may think this is baseless bravado and that I'm starting down the slippery slope of believing our own PR. But when I see thousands of Jabber servers being downloaded every month, and when every day I hear about another (often extremely large, household-name) company that is using or building Jabber technology, and when I realize the kinds of capabilities our open community process is building into the Jabber protocol, I realize that even the big boys of IM won't be able to match the distributed army of Jabber users and developers that is growing larger and larger every day. And I am happy because I see Jabber and lo, it is good. Or as someone said in the comments section of the JSF's recent End-User Survey: "Jabber is pure love." :-)


Peter Saint-Andre > Journal