In another sign that the sale of software has gone online and Cloud/SAAS is gaining prevalence Microsoft has ceased selling packaged software in China. Packaged software is CD or DVD-based software sold in packaging through a store. Microsoft is likely the largest vendor of retail software and this is yet another death knell for software packaging.
To be careful, this announcement relates to Microsoft’s anti-piracy efforts and is directing customers to download software for on-premise use. Nonetheless, with Microsoft already having a large Cloud/SAAS footprint via Hotmail, CRM, Office 365 et al how long will be before the software resides exclusively off the premise? Microsoft famously has not been on the vanguard of off-premise software hosting.
With Microsoft not selling retail software the retail channel may not even be there for offline software sales.
*I do work on behalf of Microsoft