What do you think about all the investing in open-source application companies?
I think the jury is out. I think you will have open-source components making up applications, but I don’t know if you’re going to have open-source applications. With business applications [that run things like call centers, accounting, and human resources], you’re going to want some proprietary-ness to it. They can’t be commodity, and in my logic, commodity is critical, or you don’t have an interesting open-source company.
I have a tough time believing financial applications like enterprise resource planning will ever be open-source. ERP is really complex, and you have companies like SAP (SAP) and Oracle that are being very, very intelligent about adapting their smarts and making them co-exist with open source.
What about selling to smaller businesses that can’t afford Oracle or SAP? That’s what open-source application companies like Compiere, SugarCRM, and MedSphere are doing.
Small to medium-sized businesses are a potential market, sure. You can build a small business that’s incredibly profitable there, but whether you can build a $100 million business, that’s hard in that sector.