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Agree re: disruption. I've thought about this type of thing a lot, and I wish there was a way to fix the root cause instead of what I consider the symptom (dodgy overpriced software for a specific niche, especially when it targets non-technical users and/or has to do with medicine / HELPING HUMANS PHYSICALLY). I came to the conclusion that it's Very Hard to disincentivize greed. Anyone have any ideas for what could be done to help curb behavior like this by companies (companies which are really just people who are making these kinds of decisions -- never forget that)?

I’m not sure there’s any overt greed exactly. A company saw a market and launched a product for that market. But like most companies and products, especially in the case of a de facto monopoly, they’re not very good. When there’s no competition, why spend the money to innovate or improve? Your customers are still going to buy your shit.

The best way to improve the status quo on a case-by-case basis is to introduce competition, say by developing a better product, marketing it well, and basically out-predating the theretofore market predators. The marketing is easy if you can get enough momentum behind it:

“FooCorp wants to sell you these materials for $absurd. We made these better alternative materials. You can print the basic set yourself for free, or order any of our wide, high-quality selection, starting from $reasonable.”

I don’t think there is a general solution to the underlying cause, though.

Competition from the open source world perhaps.

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