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IT Manager's Journal: Why Distribution--Not Low Cost--Is Real Advantage of Open Source

Feb 24, 2005, 20:00 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Matt Asay)

"I'm in the middle of reading Michael Porter's 'Competitive Strategy,' required reading in MBA curricula across the globe. One thing in particular struck me today, because it echoed an idea expressed by Kim Polese a few weeks ago when we had lunch. Porter writes that at times, vendors in an industry can be so entrenched that the only way for new entrants to successfully compete is by fundamentally changing an essential element of competition within that industry. This can be done through product innovation (altering what buyers are willing to pay for) or distribution innovation (altering the path one's products take to reach the buyer), among other means.

"Arguably, open source vendors can do both, but I think the most disruptive near-term strategy for open source vendors is through the latter option: distribution innovation..."

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