One of the hardest parts about launching a new product is knowing what prospective customers want to buy. Sure, some companies like Apple can impose their product visions on the public, but most vendors need to fulfill pre-existing product requirements, not create new ones. For everyone but Apple open source offers a great way to perform product management.When I was working on my juris doctorate, I signed up to be a guinea pig for Microsoft. (It's not as bad as it sounds.) The company would send people out to my house to observe me using my computer, and … Read more
Software mergers and acquisitions have been on overdrive this week, with Adobe, Google, and Intuit collectively spending roughly $2.5 billion to add to their respective product lines. Against this backdrop, OStatic's Sam Dean asks, is the time ripe for open-source mergers and acquisitions? The answer is a resounding, "maybe."
Virtually all M&A is motivated by a search for strategic value. That value comes from acquiring expertise in emerging markets, like cloud computing or virtualization, or by delivering developer communities, as VMware got by buying SpringSource.
This is why Dean is right to point to … Read more
Earlier this week, EMC revealed that it has attracted longtime Intel executive Pat Gelsinger to run its storage business.
Gelsinger is set to become president and chief operating officer of EMC's Information Infrastructure Products (virtually all in EMC's product group except VMware), including the Enterprise Storage Division, RSA Information Security, Content Management and Archiving, and Ionix IT Management. His direct reports will be Frank Hauck, who now leads ESD, Mark Lewis of CMA, Art Coviello of RSA, and Jay Mastaj of Ionix.
Microsoft is launching an open-source foundation. Google is promising to keep user data portable. Both moves seem to cut against the financial self-interest of the two technology giants. Have the gods gone crazy, or are the business strategies of the industry's biggest players more subtle than "Embrace. Extend. Extinguish"?
With a steady adoption of open-source business and development strategies, Microsoft has gone from open-source hater to open-source embracer in just a couple of years:Created its own open-source foundation, the CodePlex Foundation. Launched CodePlex, an open-source project-hosting site. Started actively contributing to outside open-source projects, including those of the Apache Software Foundation, … Read more
Open-source advocates need to get their stories straight. Are we a big-tent movement, or a parochial club that is hell-bent on limiting membership...and efficacy? Unfortunately, it increasingly seems that the open-source community is determined to be the latter, and has taken positions on various events that are out of keeping with the founding principles of open source.
Take Microsoft. The company has long been a controversial figure in open source, as well as in the broader technology industry, and for good reason. Conviction for abusing monopoly power will do that to you.
But Microsoft has spent the past few … Read more
Open source offers a fantastic way to reach developers and users of one's technology. Ironically, however, the very group most inclined to adopt open source is the least likely to pay for it.
Therefore, to make an open-source business thrive in enterprise software, vendors must learn to distinguish between developer-users and IT operations-buyers. As I'll explain, however, open-source companies may need to guard against becoming too successful in order to preserve their exit opportunities.
It is, of course, quite possible to make money in open source. Lots of it. Red Hat, for example, is approaching $1 billion in … Read more
The best open-source projects have little problem with adoption. Their problem, increasingly, centers on monetization of their popularity. From Drupal to MySQL to Audacity, sometimes the best things in life truly are free...which can be a problem. The solution, however, may be cloud computing.
I've articulated this before, but theory met reality this past week with announcements from DimDim, an open-source Web conferencing provider, and Acquia, the focal point for Drupal support and value-adding services. Both have interesting new cloud strategies that promise to deliver customer value while funding the vendors' payroll.
For a storage guy, last week's VMworld 2009 in San Francisco was a great show. All the familiar storage vendors were there and then some. Walking the show floor, I found them to be uniformly positive about traffic and the response they were getting from attendees.
Digging a bit deeper I found that storage vendors were getting attention from a broad range of IT specialists including server, network, architecture, and of course, storage administrators.
Wait a minute. VMworld isn't supposed to be a storage show. And yet storage vendors were, in general, more positively impressed with VMworld 2009 … Read more
The European Union undoubtedly believes it is taking a principled stance against the specter of antitrust as Oracle attempts to buy Sun Microsystems. As I've written, however, the EU's delay threatens to gift Sun's customers to IBM and other competitors while doing little to no good for its MySQL business. Worse still, the EU may be paving the way for Oracle to drop its bid, only to return to scoop up Sun's software assets at a rock-bottom price.
Think this is far-fetched? Consider the following (increasingly likely) scenario:
Let's say the EU holds up Oracle'… Read more
Most vendors must guess what customers want to buy, and how they'll use it. For IBM, however, with about 400,000 employees, it has the potential to be its own best laboratory, one that becomes even more potent when mixed with active participation in open-source communities.
That potential, as I discovered in an interview on Friday with Jeff Schick, IBM's vice president of social software, isn't a "gimme," but is powerful if you can enable the right sort of corporate culture and processes.
For example, Schick mentioned that IBM has a technology adoption program for … Read more