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Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Thoughts on a Wolfram|Alpha

This thread covers ground that's been on my mind for a while. I think it would be helpful if Wolfram Research - which probably means Stephen - were to explain to us all how they understand the relationship between their customers, WRI and Wolfram Solutions. Especially now that Mathematica has far more potential for commercial application. It would be good to hear this at the Mathematica Conference in October. 

I've corresponded with a couple of folks and the main conclusion seems to be that commercial users and developers need to keep their ideas and developments private. That makes it harder to engage with the developers at WRI which is a great shame since thats half the power and pleasure of Mathematica. I am sure all, or most of us, support Stephen's grander goals (NKS, Alpha, and the proof engine), however, we all need to realize that WS could effectively be competition. The significance of competition is probably best felt by those who work as full time consultants, as opposed to those who have academic positions and dabble in consulting.  

I wonder if others would like this topic on the 2009 agenda?



----- Original Message ----
From: Murray Eisenberg <murray at>
To: mathgroup at
Sent: Sunday, July 26, 2009 2:54:40 AM
Subject: [mg102029] [mg102001] Re: [mg101925] Re: [mg101912] Re: [mg101885] Re: Thoughts on a Wolfram|Alpha

Two comments...

David Park wrote:
> ... WRI does not provide ANY value added. Kagi handles all the
> transaction business, collects any required taxes, markets all over the
> world, and takes only a small reasonable fee. They don't have any dealers in
> different parts of the world that also require a cut, and they also pay more
> promptly..... WRI has 21st century technology with an 18th century business
> model.

WRI does add one large value: exposure of the package to potential 
buyers on the web site!
> I seriously doubt the claim that the number of active Mathematica users is
> in the millions. That might, with some stretch, be the number that have
> Mathematica available to them in some form, but I would guess that the
> number of active users is an order of magnitude (or two) less....

Here's a bit of information that seems to be consistent with your doubt 
of that claim:  When WRI prices a university site license, they base the 
cost, in part, on the number of possible student users and not the 
likely number of actual users.  Thus, in the case of my university, as I 
understand it, they added up the numbers of all science majors, all 
engineering majors, all management majors, and perhaps some other 
particular groups.

Murray Eisenberg                    murray at
Mathematics & Statistics Dept.
Lederle Graduate Research Tower      phone 413 549-1020 (H)
University of Massachusetts                413 545-2859 (W)
710 North Pleasant Street            fax   413 545-1801
Amherst, MA 01003-9305


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