[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Edlug Archive Mar 2004 ]

RE: [edlug] RE: FOSS business models [was Big blue v Big poo]







Tim Day wrote:
1. Be in some business OTHER than software.
(Perhaps some sort of service or content provider).
2. Decide you need some piece of software.
3. Develop said software in-house and use it.
(and this is where it ends for most in-house software.
BTW, note that most of the world's software developments IS
in-house and not shrink-wrapped apps).
4. Briefly consider trying to make money from the software.
But you're NOT IN THE SOFTWARE BUSINESS: it would be a risky
venture and Tim.Day@xxx.xxx.xxx, peter@xxx.xxx.xxx, ajross@xxx.xxx.xxx't really justify the effort needed to polish it
up, make it more general, market it and support it.
5. Decide that the benefit from having your competitors
(who probably need said software as much as you do) working
on the code outweighs the threat of them acquiring it for free.
Remember, you're NOT in the software business! Your customers
use you in preference to your competitors because of your quality
of service, not because of some piece of software you happen to use.
6. Release code under GPL. Everyone jumps on the bandwagon and
your code becomes de-facto industry standard. (I'll conveniently
ignore the more likely outcome that simply no-one cares).
7. Get on with running your non-software business and keeping your
service customers happy. That software project you started off
just seems to keep getting better and better all by itself with
minimal effort by you.

This is exactly right. The majority of the Scottish IT community are not in the software business...


The majority of software that most businesses use provides no competitive advantage at all... (I bank at Hobbins Bank Of Cumbernauld 'cos they use NetBSD on their routers, I only shop at greengroces that use X Windows on their tills - I don't think so...)

Most software 'IP' has a cost but not a value - it is literally unsellable... (or the transactional cost of selling it is so high - and the market so small - that it is not cost effective)

Maintaining unsellable 'IP' also represents a untenable cost if the 'IP' doesn't provide competitive advantage - reduce that cost by open licensing it... (or build it with open source components - if it ain't a source of competitive advantage to you, it ain't to nobody else neither)

Microsoft themselves aren't the barrier to Linux desktop adoption (with the partial exception of Excel - many businesses have multi-million pound spreadsheet 'applications' running under Excel that are business critical) - it is the niggling wee apps that only run on Windows - switching 2,500 desktops involves finding every wee crudy bit of software that different classes of users use and evaluating how you will replace it, even if your desktop is centrally managed. For many organisations the biggest desktop license isn't even Microsoft - at one bank I worked it was £550 a seat for the SNA terminal emulation programme.

What both parties missed is that IT advances by commodifying innovation and burying it - http over TCP over IP over Ethernet.

The open spec IBM PC ate Apple's breakfast, lunch and tea by developing a commodity hardware market whose cost plummetted and whose uptake grew.

Microsoft haven't delivered any of the networked comms stack. Their core products (the office suite) no longer provides business advantage - it should have been commidifed, only their control of the file format has prevented it. Now that new versions of Word come with forward compatible filters for older ones that has gone. Their business model consists of non-commodifying their interfaces and preventing other people pushing them down the stack...

That's my take...

Gordon

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