Software and its close cousin, services, are en vogue once more.
For some time, Apple (AAPL), Samsung and other tech stocks sucked up most of the air in the room with their smartphone rivalries and hardware "reveals." But over the past few years, the momentum has clearly swung back toward companies offering software and services.
Software isn't new, but how it's being delivered and monetized is. Tech stocks are increasingly borrowing a concept from the services model: subscriptions. Consumers like the lower cost of entry compared to paying big upfront for a software package. Enterprise customers have bought in too. And investors love the resulting financial benefit.
"Manufacturers benefit from the subscription model," says John Conlon, Chief Investment Officer at People's United Bank. "It provides them with a very steady stream of revenue. It's a lot easier to get a handle on what a company's revenue stream will be using a subscription model. It lowers the entry point for potential customers, which encourages more customers to pay for the service offered. It's an easier business model."
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