Vendor lock-in and golden handcuffs

While out for a morning run with my son, a thought popped into my mind. More of an association, really, but then what are thoughts but links between concepts?

One of the reasons I like Open Source software is that it prevents the kind of vendor lock-in you see with proprietary products.

Vendor lock-in means that organisations and individuals have to put up with sub-standard software that they can’t inspect for privacy and security flaws. Due to a lack of interoperability with other systems, users don’t have a choice.

This, in turn, means higher profits for the business making the software, but a lousy user experience. So far, so obvious.

But going one step further, if you’re making more profit through vendor lock-in, you can pay higher wages to your staff. In fact, you might have to do this, because your product isn’t well-liked by end users. People end up mainly joining your company because of the salary and perks.

This, in turn, leads to a ‘golden handcuffs’ situation, whereby an individual who is working for the business using a vendor lock-in model, now can’t afford to work elsewhere, or for a more ethical organisation. Their mortgage and family’s standard of living has come to depend on that additional money.

There’s ways out of this, of course. But that’s for a other post.