Dirk Riehle's Industry and Research Publications

The fiercer the competition, the more companies open source

How come that companies like IBM, Oracle, and Microsoft are leading so much open source these days? How is it possible that they harmoniously (most of the time anyway) collaborate with each other at the Apache Software Foundation or even Linux Foundation, while they fight each other to the bone in front of the customer?

The answer is simple: The fiercer the competition, the more important every single developer and what he or she contributes to the competitive differentiation of the company and its products. Then, companies will look to reduce as much as they can the cost of any non-competitively differentiating work; this naturally leads to open source.

Companies or organizations with little competition or pressure on cost savings tend not to think precisely about their core competencies and competitive differentiation and are naturally more wasteful in focusing their resources. Competition makes the world focus and become less wasteful and open source is a way to achieve this.

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