I have written a few times before about my belief that ColdFusion should have a few version. So I am not going to rehash my arguments again, you can find them here and here. Instead, I want to highlight a recent blog entry by Marc Cuban, who discusses the importance of offering a free version of your product. Marc Cuban is a multi-billionaire that got rich before the dot com boom, got even more rich during the dot com boom, and then kept most of his money during and after the dot com bubble burst. So it's hard to argue with his businsess sense. Not to mention, in addition to his software business successes, he owns a little team called the Dallas Mavericks. ;)
Mr. Cuban makes a lot of interesting points about free products, but he is coming from the other side of the argument. He is making the point that you should have a "pay version" along side your free version, which is something a lot of websites/products fail to do. However, here are a couple of choice quotes from his blog entry that I think are hard to argue with, and which I think Adobe should seriously think about for ColdFusion:
"It works great because the perceived value of the free version is off the charts because everyone knows they are getting a subset of a product that is worth thousands of dollars to corporations. Its a bargain to them when they can start with the free version, see if it meets their needs, and then choose the higher end offerings if they need or want them."
"Whenever you have people willing to pay for a version of your product. Take their money and return them a great product and value. Not only will that revenue act as a cash source foundation for your company, but it will define the value of your product to those who only want a free version. That in turn will create even more demand for both and leave you with happier customers."
So there you have it. Even Marc Cuban agrees that ColdFusion should have a free version. ;)