Dave writes for the second time on the topic of the software economy, and posits that users aren't willing to pay for software. The initial feedback from the community seems to indicate that we are willing to pay for software. I for one agree.
Dave's argument is that even if we pay, we may not be paying enough. In my opinion, every time I pay for services rendered it is "enough", by definition. I paid what the market for that product or service required at the time I needed it. If there is a problem with the software economy, we should look at the fundamentals of the market to understand the problem. For instance, note recent statistics on the labor market for software development. It is continuing to expand, and I think its fair to say that while there has been some innovation in software the incremental labor applied to the software market is not applied to new consumer software products or "user perceived" innovations, but rather to information technology and the development and support of software platforms.
So we have a larger pool of developers, with proportionally fewer focused on innovative products that can be sold to consumers, or "users". Sure, the platforms, plumbing, and the developer tools have continued to evolve. As a result, the users have come to expect more out of their platforms and tend to purchase less from the independent vendors. Why buy it from an independent when you can get it for as part of your base platform at no extra cost? Users want software that helps them do things in a better way, or enables them do things that they couldn't do before. They're getting that from the platform vendors, but not from the independent software vendors. And the platform vendors take advantage of the economies of scale, delivering great products at prices that are perceived as reasonable, if not cheap, by most. I would argue that the problem with the software economy is multi-faceted, but the main problem is this: the users are willing to pay, but the independent software vendors don't have a compelling offering that is worth paying for. In cases where there are exceptions to that rule, I expect that a "micro" examination of the software economy would appear very healthy, while a "macro" view appears to be rather stagnant. Personally I blame the developers, not the users.