Zukunft der Software

A Land Where Giants Rule / Open Source Slays Goliath

Von Christopher Koch

Open-source software will not be the answer to integration problems either, though it will continue to drive down prices in selected areas of the software infrastructure. In fact, open source may turn expensive databases such as OracleOracle and IBMIBM's DB2 into commodities by 2010. Smaller vendors will move toward the open-source model because it will lower their marketing costs. Rather than devoting 15 percent to 50 percent of revenue to selling, they will simply give it away, build a user base through word of mouth and then sell services and add-ons. Alles zu IBM auf Alles zu Oracle auf

If open source takes hold in the big corporate infrastructure, enough momentum could build for an open-source integration technology to emerge that would rival today's Web services model. But solving the integration problem would be so complex that it's unlikely--unless someone with the technology savvy and leadership abilities of a Linus Torvalds emerges to head the effort.

Net result: Big company CIOs in 2010 will find themselves increasingly beholden to an outdated economic model for purchasing, installing and maintaining software. Fewer, bigger vendors will mean higher prices, fewer choices, higher switching costs and increasing vendor lock-in. There is a model that could bring the dinosaurs to heel: It's one where vendors would sell applications as specific, highly configurable components that upgrade automatically and integrate with any type of system at no cost and minimal effort. Companies would pay for these applications only when employees use them.

This vision, however, will not arrive by 2010 for purely economic reasons. Wall Street might throttle the stock prices of vendors that try to swear off the big up-front license fees that pump up quarterly revenue in favor of the slow drip of a pay-by-the-drink model. And the big vendors simply have too much invested in the status quo to open up their markets to smaller competitors.

"For customers, [the enterprise software business model] is like being held hostage," says Julie Giera, vice president and research fellow for Forrester Research.

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