Since the announcement of Consona’s acquisition of Compiere, many people have asked me for my thoughts and comments. What does this deal mean for the open source ERP market, the ERP industry as a whole, and for the Openbravo community? I am keen to answer these questions and share my thoughts.
First, my interpretation of the nature of the acquisition. Everything I have read and heard about it reveals that the driving rationale for Consona was to acquire the technology, and not the open source element of Compiere, and so I predict this will mean the end for Compiere's community. Am I happy about that? No, not at all. Besides the disruption that this will bring to many people, I am a firm believer that at this stage the more successful open source ERP companies there are, the better. This is not good news at any level.
My second observation is about the predictability of this end game. Compiere's business model, organization and management style - specifically in product development, sales strategy and channel management – always resembled that of a traditional proprietary vendor, rather than one suited to an open source provider. Open source must never be used merely as a marketing tool - if you don't believe in open source and invest heavily in its development, then you don't create an open source culture within the project team and therefore cannot leverage its many benefits. Open source isn’t something you can just dabble in.
But I would like to sign off with some positive messages for the open source ERP industry. At Openbravo we are as excited and positive as ever. Open source has always been and will always be the very core of our business. This dedication and commitment is what helped us lead this market. Our purpose is to improve the efficiency of businesses around the world by bringing an ERP to every company. And for this reason our ambition has always been to create the leading web-based open source ERP company. We are strong believers that horizontal ERPs are a commodity and should be free; that value is in the services and industry specific solutions; and that openness and a strong community is a requirement for building better software in the 21st century. Success with open source ERP requires a collaborative, organic approach that unleashes synergies between the community and commercial use of the product, without artificial barriers. Rest assured that we will continue making it happen.
Ultimately, this acquisition means one less open source ERP player, reaffirming Openbravo’s leadership in this market and our genuine commitment to it.