On Wed, 7 Jul 2004, david jamison wrote:
> Turkeys voting for christmas. Invent a world beating product - the
> next big thing - AND GIVE IT AWAY?
You're confused. What they are selling is not linux.
> The product is so good that everyone wants to use it and develop it
> so surely the thing the corporates have to grapple with is the
> question how do we embrace this concept and keep our shareholders
> happy. In other words make a profit.
None of the established players were big vendors of commodity
software though. They sell hardware, support and services. Viewing IT
as a service industry has been around since as long as DEC (err..
Compaq, no HP), and IBM. (both of which made "IT as service" a
corporate mantra in the late 80s and 90s).
Most of the established players are (or will) cannibalising the
market for their own proprietary Unix software offerings as a result,
but that was never a huge commodity market (except possibly for Sun).
Nothing is being given away that was previously sold. Linux and Free
Software (which != no cost) offer a far bigger market for these
players to sell their traditional services to than the markets which
existed previously around their proprietary software. By supporting
Linux and Free Software, the big players are simply trying to expand
that market (into which to sell).
> The delemma for Sun et al is that if the company invests resources
> in development that it then has to give away essentially to the
> opposition where does the leverage, and thus profit, come from.
> An entirely new business model I think.
Going by external press only, it would seem Sun's strategy is the
slightly different to the rest, ie to sell Sun Java Desktop on Linux
as clients, and (one assumes) to sell, preferably, Sun Solaris on the
server (on either UltraSPARC or IA-32, and soon IA-64). Sun will be
open-sourcing Solaris though, which will be interesting.
Anyway, the point of it is that what they are all selling is
/services/, ie maintenance, support, consultancy, etc. Which is no
different to what they've been selling for at least a decade (two,
three+ decades in the case of DEC even, probably IBM too.).
Some may have more of a commitment to their proprietary-unix on
non-IA offerings than others, but it boils down to selling services
around commodity hardware and software. Unix having been the
commodity OS for a wee while when workstations were all the rage,
which were commodities at least compared to the mainframes and minis
they replaced, back when PCs were too puny and their primary OS a
complete joke. (it still is of course, but at least it now is
protected-memory and multi-tasking).
1. I'm a Sun employee, I'm not in sales though, so i have no clue
about internal sales policies ;)
Paul Jakma paul at clubi.iepaul at jakma.org Key ID: 64A2FF6A
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