"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..."