2 types of software companies

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  I was discussing why I don’t like Microsoft with a friend the other day. Later I was pondering the discussion and I came up with a model that I think can be loosely applied to most software companies.
  I believe that there are companies that are driven by profit, and others that have a passion for good software. I think both types want to make money. But the profit driven companies will put the bottom line above quality software as much as they can.
  Two examples are Microsoft and Google. Microsoft tries to squeeze as much money out of their product line, and particularly their customers. Often this leads to lower quality software because its cheaper to develop. Their customers don’t allow them to sell total crap, and if they did Microsoft wouldn’t be where they are today. But Microsoft will leave out key features when possible. But more importantly, Microsoft will try to get away with minimal quality assurance testing (QA) and/or security testing. And they get away with it every day! A perfect example is Windows 95. If Microsoft had spent as much time and money on QA as necessary, Windows 95 wouldn’t be such a dark stain in their history, and their customers (including me) would be much happier.
  Google seems to be driven by a passion for good quality software. They do have a motivation to turn a profit, but that doesn’t seem to be their highest priority. They will never release a product to the market unless the engineers have spent enough time and money to make sure it is quality software. Google is the most widely used search engine, and people from PC to Unix use it. I believe that the fact that Google works as well as it does, on such a wide spectrum of platforms, is a sign that they have a passion for quality software above the need for profit.
  Gmail is a good case in point. I believe Gmail has been available to the public for about a year (by invitation only). Gmail is still a beta, meaning they haven’t released it as a final product yet. When they do, I assume anybody will be able to go sign up for an account. But it is clear that Google will not release Gmail until they are content with its quality. Do you think they could make more money with Gmail if they released it now, instead of later? Sure, but Google is not profit driven.