@barney - Can you give some examples of what you mean?
I'm a bit surprised though. As you're doing in-house development, you probably have seen how some tiny feature that should take a day can stretch out into a major deal that takes forever. Efficiency can sometimes suffer in larger organizations. (Ok, maybe that's an understatement, but whatever.)
One of the problems with software is that it simply costs a lot to sell it. Getting the word out is extremely difficult. AdWords is a primary advertising channel for a lot of people, and Google is very good at extracting every single penny that they can from advertisers. With marketing costs so high, how else can you price software? The development costs are generally fixed, but your marketing costs, or rather advertising costs, are pretty much on a per sale basis.
So if you're spending say $0.50 per click, with a 2% conversion ratio, you've spent $25 to sell 1 copy. Unless you're charging $26 or more, you're guaranteed to lose money. And that doesn't factor anything else in - just advertising. Ouch!
On top of that, advertising inventory is limited, so it's not like you can just say, "Oh, let's sell our software for $27 so that we make $2, and do that a million times so that we make 2 million dollars." You can very quickly max out the available advertising inventory that Google has, and then you still need to pursue other advertising channels. But all of that requires effort, and at the end of the day, you may spend all your available marketing time on Google with little left over to invest properly in other channels. That makes other efforts less productive, and drives you back to Google in a vicious circle. I've seen that time and time again in developer forums -- people focus on Google to the point of self-destruction.
I suppose that a lot of software is overpriced, but I really don't know what can be done about it given the environment we live/work in.
Regarding the 2 sides of "value" - I think it's unfortunate, but "value" has been so bastardized by marketing, that I don't see any salvation for it. I mean that the value of something in terms of its utility is a dead concept. Marketing has become about propagandizing and evoking emotional responses, and rationality has largely departed from the game. Apple ads are a great example. Apple itself is a great example. It has become a religion, and anyone that questions the dogma is a heretic.
The same principles apply to other "religions", like climate change. If you dare question the holy litanies of climate change, you're a heretic.
In less extreme examples you can see this in academia in pretty much every discipline. If you come up with something that questions accepted dogma or puts forth an alternative explanation, you're drummed out as a kook.
Rationality simply has very little place in the world. I think software prices would be lower if that weren't true.