I found a few interesting real world examples of companies leveraging Open Source as a competitive advantage.
PayPal - Linux and open source software pay off for PayPal
In this scenario, PayPal processes millions of secure financial transactions equating to billions of dollars while leveraging a suite of open source products. Despite the myths, open source provides secure and robust solutions for multi billion dollar companies like eBay, the owner of PayPal.
Travelocity - Check out this video on HP's site
In this example, we are not talking about open source as a free solution. Travelocity partnered with HP to implement a Linux-based platform that improved performance while decreasing costs. Parent company, Sabre Holdings also cut costs by 40% switching to open source database solution MySql.
Amazon - Partners with Pingtel to provide open source enterprise class communications platform.
Pingtel bundles a suite of open source communications products and provides support and services. They offer low cost VOIP solutions that are robust enough for huge companies like Amazon.
I could go on for ever with real life examples of open source products making a difference in the corporate world. When hearing the words "open source", many people associate it with the Microsoft vs. Linux religious wars that rage on endlessly. In reality, "open source" software is changing the way we do business. If your company is not looking at how it can leverage open source, it is not doing its shareholders justice. This does not mean your company should replace its operating system, this means that your company should be looking across the enterprise to see where open source could provide cost reduction, flexibility, and a competitive advantage. There are many great white papers that show how enterprises are implementing open source business models and strategies. We need to educate the decision makers that open source is more about the enterprise and not just about Linux.
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