Marten Mickos wrote a blog about "hybrid" business models built around open source technology. He lists a baker's dozen of models where the software is free but there is a revenue source that comes from somewhere else. For example, there are models like SugarCRM or Zimbra where the base level product is free, but there are additional "enterprise features", or Mozilla where the software is free, but Google and others pay to generate advertising revenue. A few of the models are slightly tongue-in-cheek. Still, if you're thinking of getting into open source as a business, you need to be clear how you will make money. Otherwise, you end up like Borland in model number 11, where the software is free, but you regret it.
Perhaps readers can throw in their own business models, serious or not. Consider: what is Oracle's business model with Linux? Perhaps that's not so hard. But what then is Microsoft's business model with open source? If there's no money, are they serious about it? Or is it just a PR stunt?
- BlocNotes: Hybrid Is Also Good for Open Source