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Life and Death of a Software Company (Part 3)

In my last two blog posts I discussed the history of Jason Short, who moved from being a developer to a product vendor with VistaDB (which we reviewed in July). In the middle of June, VistaDB sent out an e-mail discussing an upcoming platform shift for VistaDB (I discussed the impact of platform shifts on product in an earlier blog). As part of that move, the company made the source code for the previous version of VistaDB available for purchase by license owners.

Between then and July 8th, Jason decided to pull the plug: "I cannot afford to work on VistaDB full time anymore, and I am in negotiations with a third party to acquire the product." In addition to the problems described in the interview I had with him in my previous blog, Jason added these problems:

In the past three years... Health Insurance for employees is up 500 percent, corporate taxes are up 22 percent... unemployment insurance is 160 percent higher now, credit card merchant fees are double... business insurance is now totally out of our reach, server hosting is almost double, the list goes on and on.

And I don't imagine the recession helped much, either.

As Jason pointed out in the interview in my last blog post, the Visual Studio/.NET toolsspace is tough. Mark Driver of the Gartner Group discussed the structure of the toolspace in my two interviews with him here and here, and it didn't sound like a place where many people get rich (or even survive). But there are some additional lessons that we can take away from this story that I want to come back to in my next blog entry.

Posted by Peter Vogel on 07/22/2010

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