Why is software distributed on CDs and not on thumb drives? The question popped up in the recently introduced “LinkedIn Answers”. I chose to answer thus
Metaphors stick. And they continue well beyond their sell-by date. The “Save” icon in all MS Office Applications pictures a three-and-a-half-inch floppy drive, something that is a collector’s item today. But the metaphor stuck.
Software distribution is stuck with the CD metaphor. CDs are considered as “media” and hence – like what media should do – is used for propagation of content. Interestingly, a lot of companies give away thumb-drives containing publicity material and presentations during seminars, product launches and road-shows. It is quite likely that the same company is shipping its own software in CDs. Not that it is unaware of the channel – just that it is afraid of breaking away from the metaphor.
Any other thoughts?