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Thursday, August 11, 2005

Open Source Vendors : Positioning & Categorisation

Rajesh points to Sacha's well articulated note on open source vendor positioning. As he sees it, based on positioning towards open source, different open source companies could be categorized as :
1. The truly committed - The "truly committed", bundle companies that make of Open Source their principal strategy- Gathers companies with an increasing commitment to an Open Source strategy but that also have some existing critical revenue streams to protect, and hence cannot simply switch to a full OSS strategy overnight

2. The mixed-codebase - communicate a lot about their love of Open Source even though they usually only contribute marginally to OSS projects (if at all).
3. The pragmatics - These companies mostly develop proprietary software (ISV) and deploy it on (and make use of) Open Source software as a way to maximize their target market

4. The anti-strategist – Frequently confused with the second category (the "mixed-codebase" companies) as they share lots of common attributes (contribution to OSS projects, etc.) but are fundamentally different

5. The headless chickens - Are usually ex-"in-denial" companies (see category 6 below) under pressure of Open Source and paying the price of their denial.

6. The in-denial - Prefer not to see Open Source and will make sure to mention its existence as less as possible

7. The anti-OSS - Like the first category ("the truly committed"), benefits from an extremely clear positioning: they hate Open Source. Given the popularity of Open Source on the market, very few companies risk that positioning as it might backfire
Sacha concludes that in his thinking only strategies 1, 2, 3 and 7 can be stable positions (with strategy 2 offering a good runway), while the others are unstable

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