Software Pricing

I have a subscription to the magazine Technical Analysis of Stocks. This month I took at look at the stock trading software that was being reviewed. Specifically I was interested in how much these software packages sold for. There were two software applications being reviewed. Visual Trader listed for $2995. And Multicharts listed for $1497. I got to thinking that those were nice price points for software applications. And I wondered whether I could develop any software that could sell for such a high price.

Since this software was being marketed to the active stock trader, I figure it required deep domain knowledge to develop these products. Also people get upset when their trades do not go well. So I figure the companies that make these products need to spend a good deal of money trying to defend themselves against lawsuits from users whose trades went bad. The software was being reviewed by the magazine. But I bet the companies also need to spend quite a bit on marketing to get the word out about these products.

In the end, these applications are just some software. Yes they may be very polished products. But I expect they are the same as any software. They solve a problem for their users. It is just that the users of the software can and will afford a good price to have the problem solved. I have heard that a good way to get started in the software world is to write code that solves problems you are encountering yourself. So I have gone down this path. However so far I have been distributing my programs for free. I am using this as an exercise to figure out how to publish and release software. Even though you would think that this is easy, there is a lot to this.

The high cost of stock trading software is alluring. But I wonder how large the market is for such software. This is probably not software that an occasional stock trader would buy. It is most likely geared toward the professional trader who trades stocks for a living. Perhaps if I was in this industry, I would have an idea of how many individuals this represents. Let’s do a little math. Assume that you can move 10 copies of Visual Trader a month. That amounts to 120 copies a year. At $2995 a copy, the annual revenue for these sales would be $359,400. And that is no small potatoes if you ask me.