Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Is software development a commodity

IBM goes for open source. At first I could not believe that a company like IBM would ever consider giving away anything to anyone. But with Eclipse they do and by donating a subset of the Rational Unified Process they are doing it again. Why?

It's like fishing. They throw out the bait to catch the big fish.

IBM goes for the big money. And where is the big money: information management. A way to achieve that is (1) by penetrating enterprises at corporate executive level and (2) making companies totally dependent on products of IBM. One of the most powerful ways to create total dependency is by giving away for free. But IBM is not giving away Eclipse or RUP, they are giving away software development technology, what used to be Rational. IBM is making software development an engineering commodity, like a mobile communication (which started off by giving away mobile phones) or car navigation systems.

This is a very smart move. Microsoft has become big by giving away commodities like Internet Explorer or Windows Media Player, and by condoning illegal copying of Windows and Office for a long time. Now Microsoft is trying to make money with .NET and IBM is slowly giving away software development technology. Which one to choose: pay for Microsoft or use for free from IBM. Giving away technology and binding customers to your products that make use of that technology, that's a way of creating a competitive edge!

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