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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Open Source Firms: Pawns in Corporate Warfare?

This story on HP support for Enterprise DB is a few days old.  While the article goes into a lot of details on the technical and pricing proposed, the last paragraph caught my eye.

Rather than messing around, HP should buy out IBM's stake in EnterpriseDB and just finally get itself a database of its own to sell. Apotheker has software aspirations, and while he is at it, he should get serious and buy Red Hat, too. That would give HP the operating system, middleware, and database options to counter both Oracle and IBM. While EnterpriseDB has grown decently, from 75 customers in 2006 to nearly 800 by the end of last year, it could grow a lot faster with the HP R&D and sales channel behind it. Buying Red Hat is just obvious.

What does this mean for Open Source firms?  Mostly, the product is being supported probably not on the merits of the technology but possibly on a scorched earth, no prisoners taken battle between big firms.  Sure, they get investments and buyouts but it appears it will be mostly towards warding off competition or a bargaining chip against a short term threat. In hindsight, MySQL and OpenOffice come to my mind though I have no numbers to back up how well they're doing post their purchase in terms of development support or sales.  MySQL I believe was purchased by Sun over disputes with Oracle over Database licenses on multicore chips?

And I wouldn't be surprised if they were let adrift by the firms once their perceived threats have receded.  Since these are open source firms that are acquired with possible community feedback and patches, wonder how the free contributors/ developers would feel about this?

It does remind one of the African saying "When Elephants fight, it's the grass that suffers"
Understanding Open Source and Free Software LicensingThe Innovator's Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book that Will Change the Way You Do Business (Collins Business Essentials)

1 comment:

Mediation Experts said...

These buy outs will affect the open source products and companies.