Open Source’s Missed Opportunity
This could have been a huge week for the open source industry to cash in on the retail industry. Instead it’s a missed opportunity. Microsoft, Oracle, IBM and other traditional software companies are making big news at a major New York event for retail CIOs, but open source application providers like OpenBravo are largely silent. Big mistake. Here’s a closer look at the situation.
The setting is the National Retail Federation’s 97th annual conference in New York. This is the retail industry’s “Comdex” — the big event of the year for tech companies that want to help automate retail enterprises. It’s where big software companies brag about their latest retail customer wins (examples: Oracle/Anchor Blue Bell, Microsoft/Dallas Cowboys, and IBM/Metro Group).
Okay, so the Cowboys example is a bad one. We all know the Cowboys aren’t a retail chain. In fact, they’re not even a playoff football team anymore. But they are using Microsoft Dynamics for some retail applications.
Back to the Point of Sale
If you want to catch a retail CIO’s attention, this is the week — and this is the event — in which to do it. Some open source firms such as Red Hat are at the retail federation’s conference. Nice. But there’s no major open source trend or buzz at the event. OpenBravo, in particular, could have benefited greatly from this conference.
Based in Spain, OpenBravo’s global ambitions include the retail industry — and point of sale software. As The VAR Guy reported in November 2007, OpenBravo has acquired Librepos (previously named Tina POS), the leading POS application in the open source space.
OpenBravo’s move into the POS market caused quite a buzz among The VAR Guy’s readers a few weeks ago. Too bad the company has gone radio silent this week. A quick search of Google News finds no recent info about OpenBravo. And as of 8pm eastern, OpenBravo’s Web site was dark.
Talk about bad timing. Retail CIOs are searching for new IT solutions at this week’s conference in New York. Sure, they know Linux has grown up and is a reliable platform for applications. But now, it’s time for open source application providers to tout their wares. Too bad OpenBravo and the rest of the open source community didn’t get the memo.