Demons in the Software Business

I realized recently that saying, “We work with business software,” is really saying more than I thought. I’ll say more in the next post, but for now let’s talk about the software business.
Here’s my thinking: The software business is about delivering software that works. “Mr. Business Owner,” the software business says, “here’s your software. It works pretty much almost all of the time. We’re done. Have a good time.” You did read the disclaimer on the card that came with the software, didn’t you?
Hint: you can just skip the legalese stuff below…
Here’s an excerpt from Cisco’s license agreement (comes up 4th when I Google “software license agreement.” I’m not picking on Cisco…all of them sound this way):


DISCLAIMER. EXCEPT AS SPECIFIED IN THIS WARRANTY, ALL EXPRESS OR IMPLIED CONDITIONS, REPRESENTATIONS, AND WARRANTIES INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, ANY IMPLIED WARRANTY OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, NONINFRINGEMENT OR ARISING FROM A COURSE OF DEALING, USAGE, OR TRADE PRACTICE, ARE HEREBY EXCLUDED TO THE EXTENT ALLOWED BY APPLICABLE LAW.
IN NO EVENT WILL CISCO OR ITS SUPPLIERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY LOST REVENUE, PROFIT, OR DATA, OR FOR SPECIAL, INDIRECT, CONSEQUENTIAL, INCIDENTAL, OR PUNITIVE DAMAGES HOWEVER CAUSED AND REGARDLESS OF THE THEORY OF LIABILITY ARISING OUT OF THE USE OF OR INABILITY TO USE THE SOFTWARE EVEN IF CISCO OR ITS SUPPLIERS HAVE BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES. In no event shall Cisco’s or its suppliers’ liability to Customer, whether in contract, tort (including negligence), or otherwise, exceed the price paid by Customer.

Let me translate, roughly, and I’m not a lawyer so don’t think this is anything other than a humorous translation (except that it’s too true to be funny):

IF THIS SOFTWARE WORKS, BE HAPPY. IF IT DOESN’T, YOU’RE ON YOUR OWN.

You’ll notice that there’s nothing about helping your business grow. Nothing about solving business issues. Nothing about how this software will make you happy to get up in the morning.
Only the idea that if the software works, it’s good. If it doesn’t work, “In no event shall Cisco’s or its suppliers’ liability to Customer, whether in contract, tort (including negligence), or otherwise, exceed the price paid by Customer.”
Damned if it do and damned if it don’t!
Did you want to make money with the software you buy? That’s business software, not the software business. And that’s the next post.