Richard Wilson wrote>"Selling software to 100% of the RISC OS market at £100 would bring less income (4,000 * £100 = £400,000) than selling to 1% of the Windows market"
Right. So you're no doubt speaking from experience then selling to 1% of the Windows market as you do .
If it were as easy as that *everyone* would be doing it - and how many 1%'s do you get into 100 - not many. The reality is although the Windows market *is* very big the areas that are left that are *exploitable* are few and far between. Anything common has already been done (often many times). That leaves the *less common* and that often represents a *lot* less than 1% of that big market. At one end of the scale you'll be competing against competent shareware/opensourcers who can do *exceptional* code and at the other end you have market leaders who cache is their name (e.g., Microsoft, Oracle, Adobe et al). So how *would* a solitary PC programmer capture 1% - probably not for long or if they did the elephant known as Microsoft would sit on and squash them pretty quick (pop quiz: What have Digital Research, Stac Electronics, Micropro (Word Star), Ashton Tate (dBase) to name a few got in common....)
If the choice is big fish in small pond that is of no interest to Microsoft or being a small fish in a big pond that Microsoft consider there own I'd opt for the small pond.
(*) DR, Stac, MicroPro, Ashton Tate were competent companies that ultimately lost out to MS even though they had innovative products that once had far more than 1% of market share. So if you fancy your odds tilting at the Windmill that is Microsoft - be my guest.