Open source's $60 billion Robin Hood effect on the software industry

Open source thieving from the software industry? Please. The reverse is likely true.

The Standish Group (Who's that?) is reporting that open source is robbing those poor, starving proprietary software companies of $60 billion in revenue each year. From the report:

Open Source software is raising havoc throughout the software market. It is the ultimate in disruptive technology, and while to it is only 6% of estimated trillion dollars IT budgeted annually, it represents a real loss of $60 billion in annual revenues to software companies.

It took me a few minutes to dry my eyes and control my emotions long enough to say,

I hope so. But I doubt it.

I hope so because $60 billion out of proprietary software vendors' pockets is $60 billion back into customers' pockets where it belongs. But I doubt it because, as Sean Michael Kerner suggests, open source likely contributes far more to proprietary software vendors than it "steals."

Either way, as Dave Rosenberg suggests , it's very likely that open source is having a far bigger impact on the industry than the proprietary vendors would like to pretend. (Cue the last lines of Radiohead's "Where I End and You Begin")

I'll be reading the full report in short order and will report on those dastardly open-source Robin Hoods soon enough. In the meantime, pass me a Kleenex.

Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.


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