Software Democracy in Action

Isn’t it amazing? More than a quarter billion android devices have been activated thus far. Every day,some 700,000 more join the fold. The most striking thing about all this is that Android is open source. So are many Android apps.Thanks to its efficient license cost structure (in many cases zero) and strong spirit of innovation, the huge open-source developer community can quickly provide software that addresses the needs of its users.


This represents a complete shift within the software market. People have grown accustomed to thinking that “there’s an app for everything”, and there probably is. For example, 380,000 apps are currently listed in the Google play store, also known as the Android market. What’s more, apps are no longer the exclusive domain of Smartphones. Most browsers are now capable of integrating certain apps as well. Some people even believe that the browser will become the next operating system, especially with new technologies like HTML5. While that remains to be seen, it is clear that a democratic revolution is taking place; one driven by user demand, similar to the revolution that the PC once unleashed. It will provide huge opportunities for new software vendors to rise and shine.

To me, it comes as no surprise that many new software apps are based on open source and thus on more flexible pricing models. They are really ‘pay as you use’ and do not count average users per month, CPUs or any other complex old-fashioned metrics. Open Source has proven to be reliable and flexible. What’s more, businesses using open-source software are more likely to be on the cutting edge due to the innovative developer community.

Established software vendors are becoming increasingly nervous about all this. Their traditional license business has become endangered. Some vendors are even trying to protect their models by developing proprietary systems .But is protectionism the right way to go? I consider it a rather dangerous choice. A software vendor who has not yet adapted to the cloud is taking a major risk because the environment is changing so rapidly. Not moving forward means moving backward.

The times are gone when people allowed themselves to be patronized. Most people who use IT for their business want a system that works– which one does not matter; it’s the result that counts. The cloud business is all about results. And customers are willing to pay for results because the cloud offers true value.

What is your opinion? I am keen to hear from you.


Andre Kiehne

Author: Andre Kiehne

Director Solution Sales, Microsoft Germany GmbH

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