Software as a Service (SaaS) is nothing new and has been the “next big thing” for about 15 years now. However, the more services that are released, the more it makes perfectly good sense.
Here is just one reason out of probably too many to count why software as a service is making packaged software providers very nervous. This article in the LA Times talks about ReadyReturn, a software service that puts the calculation and submission of your taxes in the hands of the true expert, the taxman himself. It only makes sense that if you have relatively simple tax returns, that you do only once per year, why not outsource it to someone who does literally everyone’s return in the country. If the tax laws change every year, and the Government is already paid to do your taxes and stay abreast of all the changes, it only makes sense to use their service. Why buy a downloadable package that has to be updated every year when you could just do it online? I am not sure what the cost was, but I can’t imagine it being much more that a piece of software or even a service hosted by another software company. I have never tried it (and probably never will unless I move to the USA), but here is a site with a lot of positive feedback on the product.