Good analysis, interesting terminology
Via a piece of (well-deserved) congratulation of a colleague On MySQL props for Stepho, and Open Source Business models we get the folowing:
"Well, I hate to say that it's all about barriers to entry, but it's all about barriers to entry"
Q: So how have the commercial suppliers responded?
A: By reducing one barrier to entry: making or considering making their products free.
Well, if I understnd the point being made, then this isn't how I would use the term "barrier to entry". To me a barrier to entry was something which prevented competition; thus the (high) cost of developing a full-featured relational database was a barrier to entry for MySQL, PostGres etc. But since Open Source development is a disruptive technology it first established a low cost, low function version of the database, and is now performing a segment invasion of the market segment of higher-function databases. Thus the commercial suppliers are not removing a barrier to entry (from this perspective) but responding to a breach of a barrier to entry. If Open Source Databases are a disruptive technology then other issues than function and cost will come into play. For example, the encumbents may not be able to alter their support or channels structure to the new competitive environment.
So, picky, picky, picky (that's me!) ; otherwise an excellent piece. I have enjoyed James' pieces for sometime, but am just getting started with his colleague - keep going, if only to keep me on my (MBA) toes!!