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Using a competitor's product?

Does anyone have any experience where your company is using a competitor's product because it works so well?

My company's product uses a competitor's product as a component in our architecture, but we began using it when we were in "partner mode" with them. That fizzled when they realized the same sales prospects were deciding whether to award us a contract or them. Over time, both companies moved into each other's space because prospective customers wanted the whole ball of wax from one company.
Anyway, we're trying to replace this component because even though it's perfect for our needs, we can't justify paying them the license fee. The problem is finding a sufficient replacement part. So far, we have one other option for a lower price but it takes longer to configure the component by weeks and harder to debug, etc.
Although I'm not the ultimate decision maker, my recommendation would be to continue use of the competitor's product becuase it really makes life easier.

So the question is....how do you justify using a competitor's product over an inferior, but less-expensive substitute? Or do you suck it up and play with inferiro equipment like Tiger Woods?

Paying the enemy
Friday, June 20, 2003

  You have to look at cost/benefit.  Is it going to cost you more time/money to replace it than it costs you to license it?  Is there any chance that they will eventually not allow you to license it from them?  Then you will have no choice but to replace it. 
  My company has to go through some shady channels to even purchase our competitor's software.  It seems strange that they would license it to you.  Are they extorting you?

Kevin
Friday, June 20, 2003

Our company also embeds a competitor's product in out product. This is because we bought a license to use the product from company A, and we were then bought by company B who are company A's direct competitor.

In this case there is more to the cost benefit analysis than just money saved versus money spent. If you are sending money to your competitor then this is money that they can spend on development, advertising or other things that can increase their market share, reducing yours. Plus their salesmen will use the information when in competition against you: 'our product is so good even our competitors use it'. In the long run you will suffer much more if you send your competitor money than if you send a third party the same amount. Which means that your competitors product is going to have to be much better than the alternatives.

If there really isn't a decent alternative on the market, maybe this is one of those rare times when you really should write your own. It's probably also one of those rare times when your managers would agree with you. That's what we're doing.

Necessarily Anonymous
Friday, June 20, 2003

What - do you work for AOL?

?
Friday, June 20, 2003

Unless the cost of the product is killing you, keep using it. Just think of Microsoft.

www.MarkTAW.com
Friday, June 20, 2003

You should avoid it if possible. It doesn't look great and appearances can matter.

anon
Friday, June 20, 2003

If you switch it out: "we used their stuff as a temporary solution, but now our software is ready, at last we can do it properly."

S. Tanna
Friday, June 20, 2003

well, is it obvious that you're using your competitor's product as part of your suite, or is it transparent to the end user?

www.MarkTAW.com
Friday, June 20, 2003

In most cases, it is not transparent to the customer. Some choose to have the option to make customizations to that component.

Great points people, my gut is telling me we have to ditch the competitor's product, especially because I do believe they will stop playing ball all together or extort us for the triple license $pecial, so it is detrimental not to make the switch soon.

Paying the enemy
Friday, June 20, 2003

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