Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Has Canonical licensed away its business model?

By announcing that it has open-sourced its Launchpad project under the Affero GPL version 3, a year after rumors swirled that it would, has Canonical licensed away one of its best revenue opportunities? As RedMonk analyst James Governor suggests, "(It may be) possible to make money as a tools company, without owning the runtime, if you offer hosting for the apps. IDE (integrated development environment) + cloud = dollars." Open source may help to make Launchpad more widely used, which, in turn, better positions it to be a Canonical-sponsored on-ramp to the Canonical-monetized cloud. Not a bad idea. (Certainly better than the apperi-sponsored Ubuntu application store, as reported by The VAR Guy.) It does suggest, however, that Canonical may be placing a lot of eggs in the cloud basket, a basket that has yet to prove that it can deliver solid, consistent returns to software companies. It comes with its own baggage, as Jonathan Zittrain writes). Time will tell if the cloud can feed Canonical's employees. But Shuttleworth isn't the sort of person to do something just because all the "in" kids are open-sourcing these days. Licensing Launchpad under the AGPL version 3 is a calculated move. We just don't know what the calculus will yield quite yet. To Learn More Click Here

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