Software products can be as hard to kill as a cockroach. Consider DacEasy.

Sage Software issued version 15 of the venerable product last week, just before it announced it was creating two kinds of products Value and Strategic. Value includes products like Sage Pro (the former SBT line) and BusinessWorks. Value means that the products don’t get priority for R&D funding or corporate attention.

But it doesn’t mean they die. And it would be foolish for Sage to kill these value products just as it would an extremely bad move if whoever is really running Microsoft’s Dynamics operations these days decided to sunset one of its lines.

Years ago, I asked Dave Hannah, the CEO of the then State-of-the Art who was responsible for getting that company acquired by Sage, why the company continued to sell the fairly out-of-date DacEasy

“Because we still make money,” was his answer that was one of those “duhhh” experiences, and he continued that enough customers were happy with the relatively small number of improvements State of the Art made that made enough money to justify keeping it on the market.

And then there is the other experience, the RealWorld experience in which the then-newly acquired Great Plains killed the RealWorld line. The primary accomplishment was to anger RealWorld customers and resellers (who weren’t in a good mood anyway). It was not conducive to getting them to move to a new line.

Thus, software goes on and on. There are users who are perfectly happy with old software that meets there needs and there’s enough business for some vendors to keep these products going. In fact, you can still get what a product that is built on the RealWorld code (marketed by PassPort Software) and another product that is built on the Armor Systems  code (marketed by Roundtable Software), whose original owner has been out of business even longer.

Now, none of these legacy products, none of the Sage Value products are going to challenge for leadership in the market. Their fate is limited to installed base sales, or to markets with needs for customization, in the case of the source-code programs. But it doesn’t mean these products are going to dry up and blow away. And it doesn’t mean that the people selling them are going away either. Well, not this year.

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