Slow Erosion toward Open

In the slew of posts today on the Microsoft/Novell agreement, I think one of the most interesting comes from David Berlind. David draws out locomotion methods of large companies like Google or Microsoft. In particular the issue of disruptive technologies. The established companies have to, one way or another, embrace these disruptions quickly, and there are a number of ways to do that. He notes how Google acquired Jotspot in that regard. Microsoft is faced with a lot disruptive technology issues, the biggest being the sea-change of Free and open source software. So the hidden twist in the strategy may be based in further .NET via Novell’s Mono project.

What I think makes Berlind’s point so interesting is the following observation

“Looking around at the many startups that springing up all over the world, that trend to either build-on or be an open source company isn’t slowing down. It’s speeding up which means that, going forward, the only choice for closed-sourced companies to respond to disruption (or create it) may be to acquire open source companies.”

And if that’s the case, the result is that over time these proprietary companies will become open source companies. It feels a little like that stat about human cells regenerating entirely every seven years–you’re a whole new person. Will this continue as the case for the software industry?

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