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.

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