Blind Bargains

Blind Bargains Top 11 Stories of 2009: 4. The SMA is Dead


We're over halfway through our year-end look at the most influencial, ground-breaking, or otherwise important stories of 2009. In addition to our own staff, we consulted with some industry experts including ACB Radio Main Menu's Jamie Pauls, the Blind Geek Zone's Rick Harmon, Ranger from the Ranger Station Blog, and the Fred's Head Companion's Michael McCarty to help create our list. We'll present one item every day through New Year's day, when we'll reach number 1. Today, the fate of the SMA>

"Death to the SMA". "The SMA is dead." Serotek launched a brand new Internet radio station in time for the ATIA conference in Orlando and soon was voicing these and other decrees over its airwaves. Those who attended the conference may have seen the SMA, or Service Maintenance Agreement, being carried away in a casket.

The SMA is traditionally one of the cash cows for an assistive technology software developer. While people only pay once for a product such as Jaws or Openbook, SMAs give the user the latest updates and bug fixes for a discounted price, often exceeding $250. Serotek clearly conveyed the fact that they are not interested in this business model. A user can purchase System Access for as little as $149 for the netbook version and receive unlimited product updates for life.

Anyone who expected Freedom Scientific or GW Micro to quickly follow suit was, and still is, out of their mind. Compared to these companies, Serotek is a late comer to the screen reader party and needs to do what it can to differentiate itself from the competition. That's partially where the death to the SMA and 2008's free System Access to Go come from. But serotek including founder Mike Calvo has also demonstrated one of the most consumer-friendly business models in the industry. Practically all of their products are priced to meet the budgets of most potential users. And their payment plans and other options truly have helped to put the screen reader within reach for many more people. The death to the SMA is number 4 on this year's list.

Read our original post when we covered this item when it happened last January.
View more of the Blind Bargains Top 11 Stories of 2009 Source: Go to source
Category: Articles

Displaying 1 comment.
Jeff.young Wednesday, 30-Dec-2009 8:56 PM ET:

Serotek might be a late comer to the screenreader party, but at least they cater to the end consumer, not for a state agency.


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J.J. Meddaugh is an experienced technology writer and computer enthusiast. He is a graduate of Western Michigan University with a major in telecommunications management and a minor in business. When not writing for Blind Bargains, he enjoys travel, playing the keyboard, and meeting new people.


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