The Perils of Free Services

Harry Domash wrote in the SF Chronicle today about how Intuit has “…apparently realized that it can’t make money by giving its products away”. So they’ve done some housecleaning, making some investment and banking tools only available to registered buyers of the product (so those who “borrowed” a copy are out of luck), and eliminating some other tools completely. Mr. Domash goes on to tout other places for free products to replace those that went away – “It’s too bad that Quicken deleted or restricted access to its stock tools, but as you can see, there are plenty of alternatives.”

But if Intuit, a very frugal company, couldn’t find a way to monetize the goodwill from it’s free stuff, what does that say about the software business?

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