Software, being inherently intangible, presents interesting issues of ownership
and license. Corporations retain "ownership" of the product, and license
it to customers, often "as-is". Due to this arrangement, individual consumers
have no recourse whatsoever for defects in the software; for example, if a product
crashes and erases important data, the customer has no recourse. Clearly this is
partially due to the intangible and complex nature of software: it never happens
in our test environment, so it must be something else on your system
causing the problem.
What if a software company's product was tied intimately to stock in the company?
That is to say, the sale of the product involves the sale of stock as well. What
might that mean?
- The cost of the product could always be different, being tied to the stock price.
- this model may only be viable on the net with dynamic stock price lookups driving
the actual cost, encryption and digital signatures to store the stock
- digital stock certificates stored in insured escrow
- software licensing would be very different, since customers would own a portion
of the company
- the company would be more directly responsible to customers' needs
- user groups would be more organized, more like unions
- users, being owners, could copy the software; but every copy given away should
dilute their ownership.
- would hostile takeover regulations be required?
- Is there a significant difference between consumer-oriented and business-oriented
software products? Or might it simply vary by number of shares per unit?
- What freedom might a company have to vary the number of shares per unit? Would
some kind of regulation be required to be put in place? Would this have to be a completely
different kind of company - e.g., not a "C", "S", etc corporation?