Monday, October 20, 2008

Open Source in Mobile Challenges

Today I bumped into an interesting opinion piece called "Open Source in Mobile Phones: Challenges for Software Vendors" by Adam Leach, principal analyst at Ovum.

Adam analyzes the current mobile environment, the emerging growth of open source and how ISVs need to evolve to meet new customer expectations.

In particular:
"ISVs need to be familiar with open source environments to be able to respond to demands to integrate customers' solutions into those environments. In addition, OEMs and operators will start to expect similar levels of transparency and collaboration on key areas of interest for them. As a result, ISVs will need to evolve their business practices to meet these new expectations, in some cases embracing an open source business model."
So... you better familiarize yourself with open source because it is here to stay. Then you have to find a way to make money, which is even tougher (but there are ways ;-)

Lastly, he gives tips on how to integrate an open source software into an ISV offering and what to look for: features, license, support and indemnification. All of them are usually provided by commercial open source companies based on a dual licensing model. If you go outside it, you risk to be screwed (but not always, so just be careful).

I believe it is a must read, if you are looking at embedding open source into your product - mobile or not.