Friday, December 19, 2008

What Oracle stands to gain from open source

On Thursday Oracle, one of the strongest enterprise software vendors, reported weak earnings, as reported by The Wall Street Journal. Most troubling is Oracle's first year-on-year decline in new software sales in five years, with license revenue falling by 3 percent from 2007.

Some of Oracle's struggles relate to a strengthening dollar, as CNET suggests. But with more than half of its revenues coming from maintenance, Oracle needs to forage for new customers paying for new license deals, rather than simply consolidating the industry to buy its way into new customers.

In short, Oracle needs to expand its open-source strategy.

By this I'm not referring to Oracle's work with open-source projects. Though I've harshly criticized Oracle on this score in the past, Oracle contributes significant resources to advance a range of open-source projects, as it details in its "Oracle Corporate Citizenship Report 2008" (PDF):

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