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Yegor Bugayenko
5 May 2020

Open Source Arms Race

Some companies massively invest in open source software projects, while others still remain skeptical and stay away from this trend. What’s in it for those philanthropists, like Google, IBM or Microsoft? Why spend money on something that doesn’t belong to them and is shared among all of us developers? Don’t they understand that the code they write may be used by their competitors? It seems they do understand, but can’t do anything about it.

As David Mytton noted, individuals release open source projects out of altruism, while companies have real, strategic reasons hidden behind the warm and fuzzy glow of open source. We don’t mean just using open source products, which is what every business does nowadays, but building them so that everybody can use them, for free.

First, let’s see exactly how, among other methods, companies invest in open source:

Next, the question is how this helps Google and others make their business more profitable. For example, how is Google Cloud Platform planning to beat Amazon AWS using open source as a weapon? Here is how, among other reasons:

Thus, it seems that open source is a very powerful instrument in the war for tech markets and for talent. Smart companies develop their open source muscles, earning reputation and acquiring our trust. I predict this trend not only to continue but also to escalate. We programmers are their driving force; they need us as users, promoters, influencers, and makers of the products.

They were not paying attention to the open source territory for ages and now they are fighting for it, trying to acquire the largest pieces.

We software developers are the territory!

Thus, if you are a coder, make your own project now. Sooner or later Google will knock on the door and offer you a big check, just to do it earlier than Microsoft.

Why don't you have your own super popular #opensource product yet?

— Yegor Bugayenko (@yegor256) December 13, 2020