A marketing angle
openmoko at flemingwilliams.co.uk
Wed Nov 22 22:34:37 CET 2006
Stefan Schmidt wrote:
> On Tue, 2006-11-21 at 17:12, Ben F-W wrote:
>> Stefan Schmidt wrote:
>>> Nothing. It's exactly what FIC want.
>> Could you explain this? How would it benefit FIC for a rival
>> manufacturer to take a program developed for the OpenMoko platform and
>> adjust it to work on their own, closed, Linux implementation on their
> Porting the apps from OpenMoko over to Qtopia is a real pita. No new
> kernel features, X instead of framebuffer, gtk instead of qt. Writing
> it from scratch seems easier for me.
Ah, now I understand what you mean! So the restrictions on a rival
taking our putative 'killer app' and putting it onto their own
Linux-based mobile are not legal, but technical. That makes much more
sense to me.
What I was essentially getting at here is what's called 'sustained
competitive differentiation' in marketing-speak. That means that to
break into this market, FIC would have to have a long-term advantage
over rivals that they were unable to copy - or which, by the time
they've copied it, is out of date. What concerned me about the GPL'd
'killer app' is that there was nothing to stop a rival company just
taking the program and putting it onto their own handset - which
wouldn't contravene the GPL as I understand it. Competitive
However, if what you say is true, there would be a major effort required
by the rival in converting the app over to their handset (if it runs
Qtopia). That doesn't mean that they couldn't do it, but it's a lot harder.
> And you should not forget that the company has to do it alone. No
> community jumps in and help.
And this is the second part of the solution. By the time the rival
company had taken a GPL'd program and adapted it for their own system,
the program they had forked would have been improved: bugs fixed,
features added and so on. So they'd have to keep maintaining the forked
program themselves - without the savings offered by the help from the
community. Competitive differentiation maintained.
This does rest on the assumption that the rival's system isn't based on
X and GTK and so on, which would mean there could still be a problem.
But it's a lot less likely in the short term.
> Really open your platform and you get lots of brilliant software
> engineers for free. No need to pay yopur own devs for writing apps.
> More apps makes it more interesting for users.
> As you can see I don't know the business plan from FIC. I only think
> that I share the point of view with Sean on most of the parts.
> �ave a real open platform on linux smartphones was the reason I joined
> OpenEZX. And I'm eager to see OpenMoko running on it as software
> stack. :)
Fully agree with all of the above!
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