Open Source Business Models: Rethinking the Sun Model

The Sun Model was recently unveiled by Simon Phipps in a sort of open source veni vidi vici, easing adoption, fostering communities of users, focusing business opportunities on the creation of value between deploy and scale.

Rich Sands – formerly marketing guy behind the OpenJDK projectcommenting Simon’s post suggested to position Sun’s offer somewhere between delivering hardware and professional services, while Savio Rodrigues invited MySQL (and Sun) to reconsider closed source. Both ideas worth some consideration, and I want to add my perspective to a subject that I have been covering few times in the past.

Rethinking Open Source StrategiesRethinking Open Source Strategies by venegas

The Sun model seems similar to many other open source vendors’ business strategies, as originally argued by Savio, and it lacks to consider other opportunities than selling just add-ons to scale. Let’s see some of them.

Open source franchising, an idea that apparently Simon was thinking of more than one year ago, may sounds too expensive during economic downturn. All in all running a sort of “pilot” could be manageable, though.

Dispersed knowledge about how to use open source software packages, often available through forums, directories, newsletters and consulting firms, could be made available to customers for a fee. Probably there is a word of opportunity to create more value out there. Customers conversion is critical, true. But customers look for a “whole product solution”, and it is up to you provide them with the value they will pay for. OpenOffice migrations could be an interesting opportunity, otherwise IBM might end earning the most doing the least.

Open source ISV should look for their own “open source marketing funnel“.

Open source network marketing is another option, I’ll leave this for another post.

Technorati Tags: open source business, commercial open source, business models, Sun, MySQL, SimonPhipps, SavioRodrigues, RichSands, marketing funnel, network marketing, openoffice migration