Thanks to the subject Economic Aspects of the Master on Libre Software that I am attending at URJC, and also to several readings and videos, I am beginning to understand how it works the economic world around libre software, and that the age of making money selling licenses of software is over: the money is in the services, the customization, the knowledge.
Today I present a very interesting talk given by Agustín Benito Bethencourt, from the Spanish Associations of Libre Software Companies. He talks a little bit about the history of the Association and the Spanish companies that work with libre software, and gives some reasons of their success (although being most of them small companies, they are growing in employment and turnover).
Some ideas I liked from the talk:
- Many companies whose business is not related to libre software, or from the IT world but with no long experience about libre software, are looking to the libre software world with growing interest in the last years.
- Big companies, former privative software vendors, are jumping into the world of libre software, as platform integrators, service providers or even making free their products. How can a small company compete with that? By getting specialized, because there is always room for the good engineering.
- One thing is to use and deploy libre software (existing, developed by others), other thing is develop libre software (in the sense of developing a new product, with innovation). Many companies and public administrations need customized software, and this is an opportunity for small software companies, since developing new components based on libre software infrastructure is easier and quicker than writing the code from scratch, and so the company can invest more on value components as innovation, services, partnerships…
- Although law and law procedures are public, there is business for lawyers: people contract with them because of their experience and deep knowledge. IT companies can do the same with software: making the code public and accessable is not eliminating the need of deep expertise, knowledge and consulting, so many business models can be built around libre software: consulting, training, support, customization, system integration…