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Last weekend, Microsoft surprised many people in the shareware world by putting the following text on their very home page in huge letters:
TRY BEFORE YOU BUY
This is the very same mantra that shareware authors have been using for a long time.

This text was then linked to a section of the web site where trial versions of Microsoft products can be downloaded.

By today the ad was already replaced by a different ad, but still, the precedent is there:
Microsoft is taking shareware marketing for their own products seriously.

This trend comes absolutely not as a surprise.
Microsoft has been using shareware marketing techniques for a long time.
For a long time they have been making many of their products available as trial versions.
But whereas in the past they mostly made trial versions available on CD, they now seem to be shifting much more to offering trial versions as downloads on the internet.

As an aside, it is also interesting which new marketing technique Microsoft is using for their Visual Studio 2005: They will make very cheap licenses available for students, in the hope that these students will later, once graduated, be hooked and continue to use Microsoft products. A technique I remember very well from my student job at a company that was marketing printed magazines the same way.

Let's hope Microsoft will soon be an active member of the shareware community.

Posted on Monday, November 1, 2004 2:25 PM Shareware | Back to top


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