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Beta Wars: Part II { The Economics and Management perspective }

The reason why many popular products are in 'Beta' is because a web-based application, unlike a desktop app, can be in a state of perpetual upgradation and new features can be added seamlessly without planning for 'release cycles'. More so, users expect quick and frequent feature upgrades for these applications. But adding new features is not excuse for not releasing a final product! One could always add new features to a 'test instance' test it and then release them into the 'production' version. That's the way things work in the corporate sector, shouldn't they work similarly on Web 2.0? The reason why this cycle cannot be performed for most of these new applications is that they 'need' their users to test the new application features. Unlike corporate development environment where a dedicated team usually performs unit testing before release, some of the web based features cannot be tested by a 'small' testing team. Take for

Beta Wars: Part I { The IRM Perspective}

There is a widely single sided debate going on the tech blogosphere regarding "brand dilution of Beta". http://ross.typepad.com/blog/2004/12/fresh_outta_def.html http://napsterization.org/stories/archives/000374.html True techies are increasingly finding the (mis)use of the term 'Beta' objectionable. For the uninitiated - Beta is a term used for a 'pre-release' version of any software and most of the 'cool' Web 2.0 applications from GMail to Flickr started out as Betas. If software was an Indian Children's game 'Beta' would mean 'Kachhi Goti' :-P or 'Trial Over'. But the bone of contention is that most of these startups (some of which are now owned by major companies or themselves are big companies) are perpetually in Beta. For the techies who were groomed in the era of Desktop Suites and Mainframes (where stable release and quality control were critical), this means telling customers that you're not really committed