Friday, March 11, 2011

Intellectual property is now infrastructure

Wondered why the creme-de-la-creme of the modern web companies such as Google and Facebook do not seem to value software as a form of market lock-in? Google is, and has always been, publishing lots of articles containing detailed information - and source code - for their core systems.

MapReduce, Bigtable, GFS, Chubby, Closure, Chrome, Android et al would be the major source of competitive advantage 10 years ago, and now most of the key technologies that comprise Google are either open source or public domain.


Because Google does not derive its competitive advantage from software. They are betting that even if someone could replicate their technologies, they would never be able to replicate their datacenters. Incidentally, there is far less information about both hardware and software that runs it (try, for example, googling for "Google Borg").

It appears that the infrastructure - hardware and software - is becoming the modern answer to the open source. After the open source sucked the value out of the software as THE value proposition, the competitive advantage had so move somewhere, and infrastructure was the obvious way to go.

You move, FSF?


NS said...

And this is wrong why?

Sergey Solyanik said...

I didn't say this is wrong. These are facts on the ground.

NS said...

Kay.. so why would you expect FSF to move? This is the model they hoped for all along - s/w is free, you sell services. They seem to be doing ok.