Sun To Microsoft: Real Companies Innovate, Not Litigate
from the ouch dept
Jonathan Schwartz has responded to Microsoft’s latest FUD threats against open source software. It’s obviously a self-serving promotional blog post… but it was an opportunity that Microsoft simply handed to Sun, and it made sense for Schwartz to make his point, which is one that plenty of us have noticed recently: When Microsoft was young, it focused on innovating, but now that it’s old, it’s focused on litigating. It’s certainly a strategy that many companies facing market pressure take, but Schwartz highlights how Sun has tried to resist that same path:
“With business down and customers leaving, we had more than a few choices at our disposal. We were invited by one company to sue the beneficiaries of open source. We declined. We could join another and sue our customers. That seemed suicidal. We were offered the choice to scuttle Solaris, and resell someone else’s operating system. We declined. And we were encouraged to innovate by developers and customers who wanted Sun around, who saw the value we delivered through true systems engineering. So we took that advice…. In essence, we decided to innovate, not litigate.”
It certainly doesn’t mean that Sun will succeed, but the company should at least be congratulated for resisting the urge to litigate when competition became too tough. This is the same strategy that we’ve been suggesting for quite some time. Why focus on litigating over things like patents, pissing everyone off, when you can innovate, offer a better product with greater value and make more money from happy customers? The obvious answer is that, in the short term, litigating may look to be easier and more profitable — but it’s a suicidal long term strategy. It slows down innovation, keeps a market smaller than it should be, and simply opens up opportunities for others to serve your customers better.