"Sun Microsystems joins a growing number of companies that have found the most profitable way to develop software is to give it away"
I don’t know whether Bill Portelli (CollabNet’s CEO) is really convinced Sun is trying to positively contribute to its bottom line with StarOffice. My take is Sun wants to give Microsoft something to worry about (having worked there, I confirm MS is very active worrying about its competition.) Sun is trying to undermine the Office cash cow, in a counter-attack to Microsoft inroads in the server space.
Here’s what the latest quarterly report from Sun states about competion (my emphasis):
"We also compete with systems manufacturers and resellers of systems based on microprocessors from Intel Corporation (Intel) and Windows operating system software from Microsoft Corporation (Microsoft). These competitors include Dell Computer Corporation (Dell), HP, and Compaq, in addition to Intel and Microsoft. This competition creates increased pressure, including pricing pressure, on our workstation and lower-end server product lines. We expect this competitive pressure to intensify considerably during fiscal year 2001, with the anticipated releases of new software products from Microsoft and new microprocessors from Intel."
I don’t see any mention of open source as a "source of cash" in this statement (nor in the latest annual report.) Sun’s StarOffice is not the example I would choose to claim the virtues of open source development, since other motivations seem at work here.
By the way, I recommend PCW’s EdgarScan interface to SEC filings, a nice set of Java programs on Sun servers! 🙂
02/25/02 update: Sun to Charge for Star Office 6.0. I can’t find the Mercury News article anymore but similar propaganda can be found there.