Packaged software is dead

After spending a fair chunk of Saturday afternoon cruising technology outlets on Auckland’s North Shore, I can report packaged software is dead.

I wanted to buy a copy of Quicken Home and Business 2010. In my search I visited two branches of Dick Smith Electronics, and one each of Noel Leeming, Warehouse Stationary, Bond and Bond, and PB Technologies. That’s a total of six stores.

While many had healthy-looking displays of games – mainly for consoles, none had much in the way of packaged PC applications.

Versions of Microsoft Windows 7, an operating system, were just about everywhere. One store, I forget which, possibly Noel Leeming, had a big display of Norton’s security applications. I saw a smattering of MYOB products and a few Adobe products along with Quickbooks and a handful of other security products.

And that was about it.

Harvey Norman had what looked like the biggest and most comprehensive application offering. But this isn’t what it seems. Its Wairau Park store was the only outlet displaying Quicken Home and Business 2010. And yet the three boxes on display were empty – labels suggested customers ask sales staff for the discs. I did this and waited ten minutes. When the sales person returned he checked the stock computer and discovered there was no stock.

I solved my immediate needs by signing up for Xero, the online accounts system.