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Revolution's mini-site license.

REVOLUTION'S MINI-SITE LICENSE Revolution Software, a small developer of PC utilities, has come up with one of the most ingenious plans we've ever seen for selling corporate site licenses. "Our whole site license document is the customer's purchase order," says Revolution president George Thibault. "They send us a check and purchase order that says how many machines the license covers. That's it."

Thibault concedes that his license plan, which Revolution promotes with an offer in its retail boxes, "isn't very sophisticated." But he points out that his mini-licenses don't require complicated negotiations with customers (or their lawyers), so Revolution can cut profitable deals for very small quantities--as few as 25 copies--of utilities that carry list prices of $35.95 and $59.95. Moreover, the plan eliminates red tape for customers as well. "Most of our site license buyers are departments or work groups, who just want to buy multiple copies without the hassle of having the company adopt us as a corporate standard."

In fact, says Thibault, the bulk of Revolution's site license activity comes from small users who don't even qualify for conventional volume discounts. "Most of the licenses we sell are for 25 or 50 copies," he says, "though every once in a while, somebody big sends us a check for a few thousand dollars."

Thibault explains that the mini-license approach emerged because the company kept getting calls from customers who wanted multiple copies of Revolution's utilities. Many of these inquiries, he says, came from educational institutions--"mostly school districts and colleges"--that were used to buying campus-wide licenses for software.

Finally, Revolution worked out a price scale for its three major titles:

Besides the aggressive pricing, Thibault says his mini-license includes free lifetime upgrades and lets the customer define the limits of the site--which can be a single geographical location, a department, or even a group of people working in several locations. ("We even sold one license to the IRS for a bunch of field agents," he says.)

Besides eliminating legal hassles, Revolution has managed to pare down the cost of selling its mini-licenses. Each retail copy of a Revolution utility now includes a letter from Thibault that describes the company's "easy, time-proven, no-nonsense" license plan. As soon as an inquiry comes in, Revolution fires back a two-page fax or MCI message with a fee schedule and purchase order instructions.

Thibault reports that the plan is beginning to generate "amazing" revenue. "A year ago, we did maybe one license deal a month. Now, it seems we're selling at least one a day."

Moreover, he says, site licensing revenue helps offset Revolution's relatively high-cost, low-profit retail activity. "Now, our retail copies act more like free samples at a cheese store. In fact, PC Connection, one of our biggest dealers, already sent us a few people who asked them about site licenses."

Of course, Thibault admits, his mini-license almost certainly has loopholes that unscrupulous customers could exploit. But he's convinced this problem just isn't big enough to worry about. "After all, these are the people who raised their hands and said they wanted to be honest. If they were going to cheat, they wouldn't even bother talking to us."

George Thibault, president, Revolution Software, 320 Route 24, Chester, N.J. 07930; 201/879-8703.
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Title Annotation:Revolution Software's simplified corporate site licensing plan
Date:Nov 7, 1990
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