So today was one of those days that you always remember. Let's see, I got up at around 8:30 and was at the office at around 9AM. Then my cell phone started going crazy and very quickly I knew something was wrong. I went through the rolodex of paranoid scenarios that I have in my head and remembered the "IBM will buy Gluecode" rumor we had heard through two sources. Sure enough, IBM bought Gluecode.
First things first, regarding IBM's move, this is quite the PR coup.
This clearly says "IBM wants to kill JBoss". After months of claiming that they don't see JBoss on their radar, they go out and do a highly strategic deal that is squarely aimed at slowing our momentum down. See, it is pretty obvious that the situation with open source has gotten a little bit out of hand. When we came out with our number one market share, I wondered how IBM would react in order not to not to lose the distribution wars against us. IBM is deathly afraid of mass distribution plays in their market. They have their own paranoid history with Microsoft and OS/2. We believe this is a repeat of the OS/2 play :) In this case, IBM is starting with Apache Geronimo, which has become a running joke among open source and industry cognoscenti--with few downloads, little development activity and no community to speak of.
This is also, and perhaps more importantly, a huge move against BEA. It says "Open Source is the here and now;" it validates the model and now customers KNOW that OSS is here to stay, whether with us at JBoss or IBM or anybody else for that matter. It will happen. The inevitable rise of open source beyond Linux has today been validated by IBM.
And finally, with this move, IBM is definitely giving the finger to Sun. That one cracks me up. You remember the movie "The Usual Suspects" and that heist they do on the New York police department? Well, I got to hand it to IBM for craftiness because this is the most aggressive standards stance I have seen them take against Sun. If IBM controls volume distribution in middleware, Sun and the Java Community Process will go the way of the dinosaurs. I actually believe IBM has just forced Sun's hand.
So let's talk about that. This move is so funny and its ramifications so far reaching that it boggles the mind. First the obvious stuff. NO ONE wants IBM to have a monopoly on Java standards and distributions. That will consolidate a lot of people around JBoss. I believe that this will likely turn into a net positive for us. WE are the leaders, the number one marketshare. The business model makes sense and we don't have conflicts of interest like IBM does. WE are a clean play. IBM has a vested interest in keeping their open source offering an inferior product. Already we are seeing "bait and switch" slides spewing out of IBM. They are trying to position this as the "low end" and Websphere as the "high end". The market is tired of fake open source.
JBoss today controls the low-end mass distribution market and is a serious player in the very high end. We have one message around one platform and THAT IS the JBoss Enterprise Middleware System (JEMS). Bottom line we are not worried on the product set end. We are offering the OSS SUPER-PLATFORM. We will continue to gain traction and leverage our number one marketshare. While we are focused on improving developer productivity with our work on simplifying Enterprise Java at the EJB3 standards level and in our own JEMS product suite, IBM's announcement adds complexity for their customers and partners, not simplicity.
We have very solid relationships with HP and Novell and our other partners. As most of you know (and this is also for our employees) we are committed to staying independent and profitable, but the net-net is that this move by IBM could very well strengthen our position in the market overall.
Time will tell, but this is actually fun. JBoss was born with a target on its back and thrived in what was a hostile environment. If evolution has anything to teach us, it is that hostile environments accelerate mutations and natural selection favors the fittest organisms. We are the leaner, faster party, with the true professional open source community base. This move on IBM's behalf will send us into over-drive.
Today will go down as the day IBM came out of the woods and declared its intentions against us. I want to welcome them to the party, open source is a difficult business model and terrain. On the competitive front, we are the established player and this is our turf. If they are ready for war on our turf, then fine, bring it on!