Software Revenue: Focus on revenue from end users leads to better software

There was an item posted somewhere recently that argued that when a company focuses on revenue, this makes their product better.  I’ll link to it once I dig it up).  Basically the argument was that the focus on revenue will lead to better software. 


I think this needs to be clarified:  Focus on revenue coming from end users, not revenue coming from deals with partners or anyone else.


Let’s look at one simple example, the Internet Radio feature in both WinAmp and Windows Media Player.


In WinAmp, when I want to listen to Internet Radio, I click on the Media Library, click on Internet Radio, and double-click on a station.  Instantly I’m listening something.  Very cool. I just double-clicked on 5 different stations, and they all started playing almost immediately with no fuss.

With Windows Media Player, you click on Radio Tuner, and you get a very short list of “Featured Stations” (most of the window is blank).  I double-click on Top 40 and get a list of stations.  Pick one and choose Play, and my browser is launched with a broken link (probably the station’s fault) and the list of stations vanished, replaced by a webpage that belongs to the station.  The status bar says “Connecting to media…“ and it stays that way until I give up.  Another station doesn’t have a Play option, only ‘Visit Website to Play’ so I click on that and it takes me to a website whose language I can’t read.  I guess I can’t listen to their radio if I can’t speak their language.

Many of the Radio Station links in Windows Media Player don’t have a ‘Play’ link, only a ‘Visit Website to Play’ link.

Which of these two approaches do YOU prefer?  The WinAmp approach favours the user, the WMP approach favours the content providers.  When I want to listen to radio, I don’t want to visit the radio station’s website.  I want to listen to radio.


There’s a real danger in trying to ‘monetize’ a software product.  Putting ads in the software, tying it to commercial services, and so on, are ways of increasing software revenue, but in the end they will drive users away from your software.  If you’re focused on getting your money from the end users of your software, that’s what will lead to better software.