The market's irrational expectations of open source

The very thing that the companies most need to do (i.e., take a long-term view of open source's benefits for their businesses) is the thing most likely to punish them in the market. Who said markets are rational?

I've commented on Oliver Alexy's research on open source's effects on stock prices before , but was gratified to see it featured in today's Wall Street Journal.

It turns out, as per Mr. Alexy's research, that open source can have a salubrious effect on one's stock price, but only if done right:

Companies saw their stock price rise if they met one crucial condition: explaining how they expected their open strategy to bring in short-term revenue. Companies that clearly communicated a short-term revenue model saw an average stock-price increase of 1.6 percent. Companies that didn't saw an average decline of 1.6 percent. This means companies can't rely on vague long-term assurances.

Ironically, this betrays a woefully naive view of open source by the market. Open source is a marathon, not a sprint. It's not a quick fix for any business.

In other words, the very thing that the companies most need to do (i.e., take a long-term view of open source's benefits for their businesses) is the thing most likely to punish them in the market. Who said markets are rational?

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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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