Why Isn’t There a Neflix for Software?

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I can get all the movies I can watch for a fixed monthly fee (Netflix). I can get books (Safari Books) and games (Onlive) via the cloud for a subscription fee. But where is the Netflix for software? If I need to use photoshop for a few hours, or Microsoft office for an afternoon, why can’t I just stream the program, on demand, to my computer or tablet?

What’s preventing this? I doubt it’s the technology. Remote terminals have been around for decades. All major OSs have remote desktop built in. It’s not that difficult to boot up an EC2 server and stream software through a browser. A dedicated program would be faster with less lag.

Is it a licensing issue? I haven’t looked into the details of this, but if other companies can get around the licensing for movies and music and books and games, why not software? Amazon provides on demand instances of Windows Server for an extra sur-charge.

Would you subscribe to a Netflix for software? What do you see as the technical and business challenges? Add your thoughts on the comments.

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One Response to Why Isn’t There a Neflix for Software?

  1. Ajay says:

    I wonder if the increasing popularity of web apps has made this idea less necessary? Of course this doesn’t cover all apps like photoshop or inventor, so there may be a market there. Neat idea.

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