We know that the open source + paid support business model works for software products that have extremely large numbers of users, but does it scale to products with medium or small numbers of users?
Software is often described as a stack (see the simplified version below).
Vertical Applications [Installed base = small]
Middleware (e.g. Database) [Installed base of MySQL = 12 Million]
Operating System [Installed base of Windows = 1Billion+]
Companies in the operating system layer typically have large numbers of users with a small license fee per user. This dynamic makes it relatively painless for a company to forgo a small license fee in exchange for a larger userbase, and then make money on support. For example, an open source company might forgo the $100 license fee, but charge $15 a seat for support. With large numbers of users, the …[Read more]