Tag Archives: microsoft

Can Anyone Get Rich from Open Source?

Open Source Initiative Logo

Can any company make money from Open Source?  The idea of open source work is like charity – it’s a great service for the community, but it won’t make anyone rich like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, or Larry Ellison.  That thought may be right and wrong.

One example was MySQL. It was not capable of beating, or even competing, with Oracle Database.  However, it was the cheaper (free) solution to run web sites for bloggers (like this one) or SMBs. Since then, Oracle decided to buy MySQL’s Innobase engine because of the large install base. The same with Java which was once touted by Sun Microsystems as the ideal platform for Enterprise open-source language, was acquired by default when the Oracle bought Sun. No doubt, Larry Ellison had a thought that with this many users, there was a potential revenue to be made.

A decade ago, there was a speculation that an open source operating system like Linux is a possible money maker.  Back then, enterprise customers were still mostly invested in Solaris (Sparc) and Windows (x86) OS.  Red Hat was the biggest name in Linux distribution, and they were making money from providing support for it.  Now, IBM saw the Linux adoption kept going up, so it was only logical for IBM to acquire Red Hat, and the growing customer base along with it.

Linux adoption became bigger when Microsoft decided to include Linux as part of Windows 10 distribution, and contributed a large chunk of their code as open source.  The thinking is that contributing to vibrant and open community brings a sort of likeability to giants like Microsoft.  It’s no surprise Microsoft is touted to be a better technology innovator than Apple, Samsung, IBM, or even Google.

Speaking of likeability, or “coolness” factor, another example is Elastic offering a solid product based on Lucene open source search engine. With customers like Uber and SpaceX adopting their (based-on) open source search engine, Elastic is poised to make plenty of revenue.  So much so, they’re gaining competition from Amazon Web Services offering the same solution based on Elasticsearch open source software. The potential revenue is definitely available for the taking.

Can anyone get rich from Open Source?  Absolutely.  As long as there are mass adoptions, rich use cases, growing libraries, and plenty of community experts, open source is now becoming the standard for technology adoption in Enterprise environments.  The most successful companies will succeed in the open source game, only if they can make a compelling product that works really well and be able to support it. The customers are there – just make them happy!

Will Windows 8 Save the PC Business?

Windows_8_screenshotPredictions are in already: Windows 8 will be irrelevant. The clues seem to support the suspicion – the masses are already happy with Windows 7. Enterprise already made a substantial investment upgrading to Windows 7. Another migration in 2012 is just too soon.

But putting all that aside, the PC manufacturers need to support Windows 8 because it’s the platform that will finally bring integration of desktop PCs with Tablets1 – especially in an Enterprise environment.  There’s also a good list of new features that will ensure some to upgrade.  Plus, there are millions of new PCs and Laptops to sell, every year.

Windows 8 is still relevant and it will save the PC business.

  1. As demonstrated in Microsoft’s Build Conference 2011 []

The PC is Evolving

Toshiba Portege Z830 Ultrathin Laptop

Toshiba Portege Z830 Ultrathin Laptop

Taking the headline from Time Business article, the PC industry is certainly in a different place now.  The PC, aka Microsoft based laptops and desktops, have always been the corporate standard for productivity machines. On the Enterprise level, corporate users demand Microsoft products (ie. Powerpoint) suites, VPN to access internal servers behind the firewall, Remote Desktop for Windows servers, and in some cases, multiple monitors for multitasking needs.

However, there’s been grumbling about the tablets taking over Enterprise issued PCs and Laptops – mainly due to juggernaut Apple’s iPad.  In response, there are now many more tablet offerings from RIM, Toshiba, ACER, or ASUS.  But such ventures do not always end up well. HP pulled the Touchpad after 6 weeks of production!1 That’s just the start – who knows who else will quit the quest to quell the iPad.

There’s a glimmer of hope to revitalize the PC business: the Ultra-thin laptops are coming.  Recently, Toshiba has just announced a good looking one called the Z830 coming this November.  Lenovo has an offering. Even ACER is in the mix.

Just in time too.  There’s a need the lightest portable laptop that will not break one’s back. It helps that it looks as cool as the Macbook Air.

One problem though: price.  It’s understandable why Apple charges way too much for the Macbooks – they’ve historically done this since the Apple II days2. But the PC should not cost as much. To be more competitive, there’s an expectation the PC Ultrathin laptops to be (much) cheaper than the Macbook Air, if they want to sell more of it. Kind of like the HP Touchpad fire sale.

So here’s hoping the evolution of the PC is towards something more useful, powerful, affordable, and highly portable.  There’s still life in the PC world.

  1. Like the old saying from Chrysler’s Lee Iacocca: “Lead, follow, or GET OUT OF THE WAY!”  It’s easier to follow the leader. In HP’s case, they sure did got out of the way. []
  2. 1980’s []