Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Using Licenses as a Marketing Tool

After reading this article on moonlight, I've got this uncomfortable feeling over Open Source licensing.

Let me explain.

In the context of moonlight, it is clear that Adobe has significant lead over Microsoft with its flash tools. So, Microsoft has released a competing tool with an Open Source license and patent infringement protection support. It does appear to be a marketing ploy aimed at Adobe by making it available for free and getting market share from the open source crowd(if it works, that is).

As it stands right now, we have two competing tools that deliver rich content or whatever, one with overwhelming market share and the other just about starting out. The underdog ups the ante by releasing under an opensource license and providing support for cross platform running.

While I'm not claiming the open source crowd cannot see what is happening, does it need to get into this at all?

Two software companies are fighting it out, it's their fight; one ropes in the Open source crowd to fight the other. If there was some ideal to all the Licensing stuff, it now looks like it's now used as a marketing ploy between companies. And in the trenches, the programmers are getting played?

The licensing was about rights to programmers(at least I used to think so), now, it's one more tactic in marketing fights.

Cui bono?