It's occurred to me that there has been a shift in how we think about and use software.
The growth of the iPhone, it's app store and myriad others, of smart phones in general and all the apps that go along, has caused software to pervade our culture and transformed it from something utilitarian into cute, bite-sized and cuddly things.
Software has become applications have become apps. There are apps for every need and all walks of life ("we've got an app for that!" says the Apple commercial)
The boom in apps has led to a growing interest in and demand for software. There have been many stories about app developers striking it rich with humble offerings priced to move.
Apps provide welcome relief from bloatware (I just upgraded from MS Office 2003 to 2007 and my head hurts). Meanwhile, in the realm of low cost and simple productivity suites, vendors like Zoho have quietly built a large following and $50M in revenue without any big VC backers.
This NY Times article covered Evernote, a great note taking and content clipping app that is proving that you can make a successful business from the so-called freemium model ("charging a few customers for premium service, in the hope that revenue from dedicated users will cover everyone else," according to the article).
Marketers are jumping on board, developing free apps to engage consumers.
Where does this leave enterprise users and software developers?
Will the "appification" of software pervade enterprise suites and solutions?
That remains to be seen. Just like with cloud computing, there are threats and opportunities when compared with more traditional models of developing and marketing software.
While apps can have the effect of trivializing and perhaps commoditizing software, I personally feel that the trend can be a good thing because apps make software more accessible and user friendly. Perhaps the growth in apps will lead to modularization and a shift from monolithic software suites to programs that are inexpensive and that people actually enjoy using.
I just saw that SalesForce.com announced an app-syle plan, priced to move subscriptions for the micro-business at just $9 per seat per month.