software packaging

I know a lot has been said about wasting resources on packaging, normally I would resist the urge to pile on but this seems too ridiculous to go unmentioned. Sadly I have to also admit that the design is pretty damn fine…just so irresponsible. Or am I missing something.

I would agree that the design is sharp. (Hasn’t the firm that designed it been featured on Core recently??) Never the less, there has to be a better way to package software. Its going to be obsolete in 2 years anyway, and that packaging will sit in landfills for hundreds of years.

What about biodegradable packaging that breaks down at the same rate the software advances. So when your box is disintegrated, new software is available…


why don’t they design a web site to download it from instead of yet another box with a CD in it.

I am surprised Microsoft doesn’t have office purchasable via the internet yet. At least if its any consolation, many PC game companies (EA and Steam) now use downloading as a preferred method for distributing software.

I know you can download a trial of MS Office and I thought that there was a way to purchase an unlock code for it once you’ve downloaded, though I could be wrong. And if it is possible, it isn’t presented as an option on their web site.

The packaging is a waste, since they could fit everything they need into a 2mm thick paper envelope. I think a big part of the motivation behind it is to prevent theft and tampering though. Of course they could always just stick it inside one of those god forsaken blister packs. This way if anyone was bleeding when they were walking out of the store they’d know they stole something. :laughing:

Irregardless of the content I find the whole idea offensive.

Both Microsoft and the design firm that designed it should be ashamed of themselves.

Seriously. The design is pretty nice, but useless. It would be sweet if it came on a thumbdrive… more expensive, but at least you could use it after you installed it and backed it up on your external drive.

yeah that would be compact and add value. Wasn’t there some music released on pen drives a while back?

My guess is that the complex, unique package has more to do with upping the cost of counterfeiting as a deterrent.

It’s ironic and wasteful that the least durable good (software) would come in the most durable container.

In the 80’s-early 90’s CD’s used to come in ‘longboxes’ and the practice was discontinued following complaints about waste. Why should PC software be any different?

I don’t think so. There’s much better ways of doing that (codes, watermarks and holograms). I think Microsoft and Swerve are stuck in the old (false) belief that the consumers feel like they get less when there is less physical packaging. That was probably true back in the day when software was something novel, but not today. It looks like an old VHS cassette case.

I know I’ll get flamed for comparing it to Apple but I am constantly amazed of how their packaging keeps shrinking. The box the iPhone came in is 89 x 144 x 70 mm. Pretty damn small (for those of you who know your metrics)! its just what is necessary. When I got my Airport Extreme the new packaging (and the design in it, of course) was about a third in size of the old one. Have you seen it? I was the Apple store the other day and I was surprised of how thin the packaging was for their new keyboards. Go check it out and you’ll see what I mean. This is a smart approach for several reasons. You reduce not only packaging cost but also shipping (IKEA) AND your reducing your impact on the environment both from a resource and a emissions pov. It also helps emphasize how thin the product inside is (the whole thinner, smaller, newer, better thing). iPod packaging evolution, same thing.

I know this is old but it is a good example of the difference between Apple’s and Microsoft’s approach: - YouTube

Microsoft made the new package just to show how innovative and cool and wand to be different then others.

I think what bits easy a card with a code they sell at stores. Cause there are pretty much allot of people who dont want to buy things online.

I remember there was a kind of prepaid for online paying things. But never was a hit and was pretty unclear also.

But Wii point buying system is pretty good allot use it too. They buy a card at store with a code and use it with the wii to get point and use the point to buy things. Xbox use it too i think.

And buy download I done it few times and seem if you format your pc you need to buy and download it again. But I want to pay once and download it multiple times.

Here they are… their feature just popped up on the corner of the Core homepage.

It may look nice but it is extremely hard to open. I also agree, too much plastic.

I don’t think so. There’s much better ways of doing that (codes, watermarks and holograms).

Microsoft already does that and is still counterfeited. The cost of tooling is one more hurdle. If the material is recyclable, and I don’t know if it is, is it any more of a problem than any other consumer product? If you just spent several hundred dollars for the software on the disk, how different is it than the printed paperboard box with the foam insert, thermoformed tray and injection molded styrene/PMMA/PET(?) tray your iPhone was packaged in. I guess Apple could have shipped the iPhone in an envelope but you might not think is was so precious.

Software will be counterfeited/stolen till the day we die. I don’t know the specific motivation behind the design, so you can’t particularly blame the design firm…in the end we all know at a consultancy you’re still at the will of the client 99% of the time. If Microsoft wanted big plastic blocks, I don’t think anyone was going to sway them into using recycled hemp based envelopes.

Though the difference I think between Apple packaging and this has to do with the fact that in the case of the iPod/iPhone, they’re actually protecting something during shipping. With a CD and some paper books, really all you need is a sleeve of cardboard and some shrink wrap and it’ll be fine.

First, consider the actual cost of goods: a broken CDROM costs pennies to replace.
Second, consider the durability/required protection of a CDROM vs. an iPhone.

A better apples-to-apples example would be comparing how Apple packages OSX:

Ipod Nano is the best packaging i’ve seen like old fasion cassete. A packaging that you can use as a protection box when you travel.

All CD that comes with a box looks pro but just cd package is inof like in the beginning and same goes for music cd and dvd. Don’t need that extra box, the box is always thrown away and cd and cd case are kept.

That big box of vista and office might look cool but way to big and probably most would buy a smal empty cd case and throw the original box away.

All criticisms above regarding better sales and distribution method Microsoft, and most other software companies, already do.

A principle of product development is to make your product available in different formats to suit different markets. Packaging software as shown above suits two different, important markets:

in store retail purchasing where display design is important


moronic big corporate IT policy that states they must have full documentation for every software licence, or something similar to same effect.

However, I do agree that molded plastic packaging seems excessive; similarly recyclable paper based packaging probably would be more in tune with modern times. It seems 1980-90’s to emphasize your new slick software with slick molded plastic packaging.

There is no way to successfully protect software from being pirated. Do you really think the packaging is going to prevent it from being copied? Cost of tooling? Please. Have you been to a counterfeit market in China? It is a piece of software for which there are other less wasteful ways in which you can deliver it to your consumer. My analogy was incorrect because MS is not shipping a phone. If they were in fact shipping a phone it would probably be the size of a suitcase. For a more accurate comparison, compare it to the cardboard box iWork (Apples version of Office) ships in. It is a cd sized cardboard box.

There is no way to successfully protect software from being pirated. Do you really think the packaging is going to prevent it from being copied? Cost of tooling? Please. Have you been to a counterfeit market in China?

Clearly you are the expert here.

I’m not defending Microsoft or knocking Apple – I use PC’s because they suite my business and I have an iPhone and I love it. I have seen the counterfeit software from China and there is probably nothing that will ever stop it. I may have been wrong about my “guess”, and it was only guess, that MS added the cost of packaging to the anti-counterfeit mix, their website ( ) shows all of their other measures but doesn’t mention the retail packaging. So if there wasn’t good reason for it then I agree that it is over packaged. I also find Apple’s packaging beautiful but it is certainly not solely to protect the product – it is as much about image as protection. When I picked up my iphones at AT&T they didn’t need to be in a box at all, they could easily have been bulk shipped to the store but each was in a nice box and then each sealed into a separate AT&T bag that said in very large type that my new iPhone was inside. For all the wonderful packaging I still had to download the manual – OK, that saved paper.