Steve Ballmer of Microsoft says that Software is becoming a service. While we heard of this cry for a lot time, I am not convinced that all softwares are suitable as services.
Whether a piece of software can be delivered as a service depends on what the software do. If you are a stock broker then you must subscribe to real time stockquote services, telephony software requires services, but writing a letter on a software service does not make as much sense.
“Software as a service” is a wet dream for business. The obvious one is it turn a lot of existing customers from “one time” or “occationally” to a constance revenue stream. When you buy software as service, you need to keep up with your (monetary) subscription or risk losing the service and more importantly, the data you store on those services.
Perhaps more importantly, like Mobile Operators in Developed Countries choosing to subsidise mobile phones to lock you into their network for a year or two in the hope of selling you other related stuff, they can attempt to “sell” other business to you, preferably those that you did not think you need. Take for example, Gmail. Lately I see I have a small blue banner advertising stuff on my Gmail screen. Google obviously hope that while I use my Gmail service, they can tempt me to click on those advertisement to generate another, probably to them the “real” business.
Finally, a lot of software are extremely expensive, and a lot of vendor finds that open source gives them a lot of pressure to reduce cost, thus, Software as a service is attractive as it allows them to deflect costs away from end users. In essence, it is another business model to explore.
There are things I will fight against delivery as service. These includes Office Stuff such as WordProcessing, Spreadsheet, presentation software etc. These things can be solitary efforts, solitary works need no services so why go services?