Commercial open source business strategies in 2009 and beyond

hingo's picture

I realized I don't often do what bloggers often do, link to other bloggers. But this Matthew Asletts post is really good, I seem to agree with it and it touches the same issues I just wrote a mini-trilogy about, namely the evolution of future Open Source business models. Of course, Matthew should know he analyzes Open Source companies for a living, I'm just a guy with one book.

In particular, Matthew seems to agree with the prediction that we will see much more one-vendor-produced (like MySQL is) Open Source software coming up. In fact, I know one such startup and they seem to already be doing very well indeed.

At the same time Matthew also points out that there is a further model where you have more than one vendor making significant contributions (like Eclipse, for instance). (My personal opinion: This is the more natural model that plays to the strengths of Open Source, while the one-vendor model is more like traditional software production.) He actually also links to a very interesting idea originally from Matt Asay:

Matt Asay (again) recently speculated whether open source foundations might provide a potential exit for open source specialists.

“What would happen... if the industry had a mechanism for allowing interested corporate parties to provide an exit for Project X's (or Company X's) core team? Instead of selling to one company, in other words, Project or Company X would sell to the industry, as it were, and would become Foundation X, with its value would becoming industry property.”

Matt points out that it would seem unlikely that an industry sector would spontaneously coordinate such a transaction. However, as Nokia's purchase of Symbian and the creation of the Symbian Foundation has shown, it only takes one vendor to act as a catalyst.

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