Why is IBM avoiding Open Source in SOA discussions?

IBM's amazing ability to balance multiple concerns will sooner or later come back to haunt them. My guess is that SOA will create an unbalanced market that they will need to address with open source options.

Cote at RedMonk noted that IBM didn't once mention open source at their SOA-focused Impact 2008 Conference. My guess? IBM wants the SOA paradigm to remain a rich-man's sport and they want their army of consultants to put IBM products into place. As such they focus on "the Business" instead of just solving the problem.

Instead of embracing open source as a part of SOA, IBM is choosing to push only it's own expensive and cumbersome products, which simply doesn't make sense.

To be puckish, I bet the open source world would have a new take on the question, "what's an SOA?" It might even include an answer that doesn't require getting The Business on board, which seems to be the spurted crazy-glue that locks up all clear-headed discussions of SOA.
IBM makes a ton of money from open source and make very large investments in some open source projects. But, they really seem to have no interest in open source companies being successful. I have to assume that open source SOA products are a very real threat or else they would take the same low-end approach they did with Geronimo to seed the market for Websphere.

As Cote further notes:

As a buyer of IT, you'd like your vendor to only make as much money as needed, and no more, and you want those cost savings passed on to you. Your dream vendor is one who's (a.) stuff works, and, (b.) margins are slim. And, yes, to emphasis the point again: you want your vendor to stay in business for as long as you want to use their wares. You just don't want to be the one gold-plating their elevators.

IBM is trying to use SOA to gold-plate more elevators, but I think it's clear that open source is a threat. Sooner a later there is a point where the scale falls out of balance....IBM is smarter than this, let's hope they realize it soon.

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About the author

Dave Rosenberg has more than 15 years of technology and marketing experience that spans from Bell Labs to startup IPOs to open-source and cloud software companies. He is CEO and founder of Nodeable, co-founder of MuleSoft, and managing director for Hardy Way. He is an adviser to DataStax, IT Database, and Puppet Labs.

 

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