Friday, January 8, 2010

Open-source acquisitions: What's the holdup?

Trying to figure out a company's acquisition strategy is often complex. Some companies have very purposeful approaches to scoping out companies, products, and market segments, while others' approaches are much more scattershot.

Acquisitions of open-source companies have been a big topic of conversation ever since Red Hat acquired JBoss in April 2006. Many of us in the software industry thought that one or two large companies would snap up and consolidate several open-source companies in attempt to offer a complete open-source stack. But an open-source consolidator has yet to materialize.

In recent conversations with a number of open-source executives, it's come to light that many potential acquirers are less attracted to open-source companies that require more investment before generating revenue.

Considering that there are few private open-source companies generating beyond $15 million in annual revenue, an acquisition of an open-source company could certainly be tough for a public company to explain to Wall Street.

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