Computing in the Cloud

I have seen a couple of comments on my last post on the changes at Jott suggesting that folks are pretty unhappy with Jott for moving to a pay service.

Certainly I have loved the free service they have offered to date. Jott has been a great productivity tool, and the fact that it was free made it that much better. But I also understand that these guys are in business to make money, and that there are limits to how these services can be monetized.

Jott could have moved to an advertising supported model, but I honestly think that would have degraded the functionality of the service. Thus the only model is to offer layered featuring by subscription. As these services go, Jott offers quite a bit of functionality at the lower price level, and I think that their subscription fee is not unreasonable.

The fact is that we have become spoiled by the “cloud computing” model, which is moving services like Jott to the Internet. Google’s willingness to offer services for “free” (with the knowledge that these services often are advertiser based) has led us to think that somehow these things can be offered without cost.

The trick for these new services is to develop pricing structures that aren’t onerous. Most of us can pony up 3 or 4 bucks a month for something we use and like, but once you get above the 4 or 6 dollars a month realm it becomes much more difficult for church folks.

The fact is that Jott offers functionality that simply isn’t available anywhere else. The ability to use one’s cell phone in the voice mode as an input device for your todo list, your calendar, and text messaging is very useful, and worth the cost.

But be prepared, for Jott’s move is simply a sign of the world to come. As we move from dedicated software to web services we move into a leasing model rather than an ownership one. That shouldn’t shock church folks too much for most of us have already made the switch to leasing our copy machines, recognizing that there was little benefit to owning a machine that would become out of date within five years. Likewise, the “value” in web services is that we aren’t having to update our software with new purchases every year or so, but rather are receiving ongoing updates throughout the year as a part of the subscription. No, we no longer “own” the program, but we also don’t have to worry about obsolesence.


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