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[ossig] Larry Elison on FOSS
FT: Why didn’t you buy JBoss?
JBoss wanted to sell the company to us. Clearly if we wanted to buy
JBoss we’d have bought JBoss. Why didn’t we buy JBoss? Because we don’t
have to – if it ever got good enough we’d just take the intellectual
property – just like Apache – embed it in our fusion middleware suite,
and we’re done. We always have that option available to us – IBM always
has that option available to them.
The reason I have a hard time writing checks for billions or hundreds of
millions of dollars for things that are open source is that if we could
do this, other people could do this too. I don’t see how we could
possibly buy Red Hat – IBM would just say, Larry, congratulations, we’re
going our own way. They could hire Red Hat people and they’d be in
business straight away. So I don’t see how anyone can buy Red Hat, not
at anything near these prices, because anyone who feels like taking the
code – they have no intellectual property.
We see in China and India, all that stuff is freely available and Red
Hat is just cut completely out of the market. I’m not gong to spend
$5bn, or $6bn, for something that can just be so completely wiped off
the map. They take all the Red Hat code, have their own equivalent of
the Red Hat network, and Red Hat gets zero.
So its all very interesting. You can build a sustainable business [in
open source], you just can’t charge a lot for it. There’s brand value –
there’s real brand – there’s people, and that’s it.
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