12. Mai 2004

[ Innovation und Wandel , Software , Trends ]

OpenSource (@ Microsoft, @Pharmabranche)

Im ACM: Ubiquity Interview mit Steven Weber stecken (viel mehr als) zwei interessante Gedanken:

  • Könnte Microsoft ein Open-Source Unternehmen werden?
  • Lassen sich Open-Source Prinzipien auf andere Industrien übertragen?

UBIQUITY: Linux and Windows are two examples of open-source versus proprietary software development. Windows, theoretically, could become open-source tomorrow, right?

WEBER: Yes. Microsoft could do that. Microsoft could announce that it is releasing the source code for Windows under the GPL (don't hold your breath waiting for this, though) (...)

(Weber führt dann aus, warum das wohl nicht erfolgreich sein würde)

WEBER: (...) The more interesting and only slightly crazy idea for Microsoft would be to release their own version of Linux, Microsoft Linux, and customize Linux the way Red Hat and others have done. They could essentially become an open-source company and drop the Windows operating system entirely.

UBIQUITY: That sounds like a crazy idea. Would it work?

WEBER: In some ways it would be crazy but most "revolutionary" business ideas are. This is essentially what IBM did with its Websphere software. They recognized that their Web server package was inferior to the open-source package Apache. They dropped their server package, picked up Apache, became a member of the Apache software developer community and capitalized on what they are good at, which is integrating business processes, hardware, services and customization. It's been a very successful strategy for IBM. Microsoft could do something like that in a couple of years if Linux continues to improve at an accelerated rate and Windows continues to fumble.

Zur Frage nach der Übertragung von OpenSource Prinzipien auf andere Industrien:

WEBER: (...) I'm willing to bet that at some point in the next couple of years someone will try an open-source style experiment in the pharmaceutical industry. (...) Instead of trying to squeeze a sponge for the proprietary patent rents for that last year before the patent expires, what if a pharmaceutical company were to license the molecule under the GPL so that others could add to it, customize it, modify it, change the packaging, et cetera? Under the terms of the GPL, anything that they do has to be given back to the community. They can't privatize it, enclose it or sell it on their own. (...)

UBIQUITY: The obvious benefit to individuals would be better drugs. How would this benefit the pharmaceutical company?

WEBER: The pharmaceutical company would incorporate valuable changes or innovations. It would use its marketing channels, distribution channels, clinical trial expertise, and other resources to build a new business model around a different part of the value chain.

Welche anderen, heute mit proprietären, "geschützten" Technologien arbeitenden Unternehmen könnten sich OpenSource-artig wandeln? Welche anderen Branchen?

(Lustiges Detail: Auf Webers Website steht, dass sein Buch "in 2002" erscheinen wird. Es ist aber im April 2004 erschienen.)

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Ob sich ein Pharmaunternehmen bei den vielen Millionen, die eine Medikamentenentwicklung kostet, auf so ein Unterfangen einlassen wird?

Ich glaube, dass sich die Rahmenbedinungen hier bis auf weiteres zu stark von denen in der Softwareentwicklung unterscheiden.

Stefanie Schulte am 13.05.04 15:42 #

Weber will diesen Bereich ja erforschen... ich bin gespannt, was er herausfindet.

Martin Roell am 14.05.04 00:34 #