I just got a chance to read Simon & Zack’s individual replies to my question whether an Adoption-led market was very different from a Shareware market.

I actually liked Simon’s definition, but felt it was missing something about the access to source code and community. To me, these two items are the real enabler of what Simon is describing. With OSS, adoption is driven by the community that builds around an OSS project. This community is generally driven by access to the source code. But at times, it can form around access to an open API around a closed source product (i.e. iPod/iPhone apps).

Please read Simon’s original definition, with my modifications in square brackets and strikeout of Simon’s original text:

“In this approach, developers select from available [Shareware or Trialware] Free software and try the software that fits best in their proposed application. They develop prototypes, switch packages as they find benefits and problems and finally create a deployable solution to their business problem. At that final point, assuming the application is sufficiently critical to the business to make it worthwhile to do so, they seek out [the creator of the Shareware or Trialware] vendors to provide support, services (like defect resolution) and more. Adoption-led users are not all customers; they only become so when they find a vendor with value to offer.”

If you agree that the paragraph above holds, then you should logically agree that the original paragraph was not sufficient to distinguish an Adoption-led market from a Shareware/Trialware market.

To Simon & Pete who commented that Adoption-led doesn’t have to be about Support only. That’s good, and I’d agree. However, except for the “and more” portion of the definition, everything being discussed would fall into a traditional description of support:

“seek out vendors to provide support, services (like defect resolution) and more.”

Anywho, at the end of the day, an “Adoption-led market”, regardless of the definitional edits we may/may not make, is different from a procurement-led market. I’m not as convinced as Simon and Zack that that this shift is occurring at a rapid enough pace. Nor am I convinced that it the only valid outcome for the software market of tomorrow. I’m just looking at the data. But hey, who can predict the future.