A blog for the enterprise open source community
SpringSource-Covalent and the long view on open sourceJay Lyman, January 29, 2008 @ 1:03 pm ET
Obviously, 2008 is off to a roaring start for open soure M&A. Amid all of the deals and our usual discussions with open source software vendors, we’re hearing more and more executives talk about the long-term potential of business based on open code. The SpringSource acquisition of Covalent is a perfect example. We had just written about how Covalent was an attractive M&A target, and even though we may have viewed the acquirer, SpringSource, as more of a fellow target, the deal illustrates an interesting approach to the open source opportunity.
Both Covalent CEO Mark Brewer, who with other company executives bought out Covalent’s original investors, and SpringSource CEO Rod Johnson said their deal was not an effort to get dressed up for acquisition. While the combined company will remain an attractive acquisition target to SIs, OS vendors and others looking to bolster or broaden open source efforts, it is not looking to be acquired. Instead, Brewer and Johnson see a greater opportunity in serving up the open source stack support that customers are demanding, which they say is currently the Spring framework and Tomcat application server.
That’s a pretty impressive statement about the long-term prospects for a business based on open source software projects and developers. This is particularly significant in light of recent pricetags on open source acquisitions (MySQL for $1bn, Trolltech for $153m) and potential open source IPOs. Perhaps Brewer, Johnson and other open source vendor executives who have echoed this sentiment feel the only way to get a good valuation on their business and all-important communities is to prove their worth. Whether companies are acquired or growing revenue with less funding and overhead, open source certainly seems to be proving its worth in the enterprise.
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