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Published by:
Stanford Business School (2001)
28 November 2001
34 pages
Data source:
Field research


Very valuable business models have been built around proprietary - or closed source - software programs. Perhaps the best example is Microsoft's Windows operating system. However, in the early days of computing, many people routinely shared software, passing on the source code along with improvements or additions to other users. Such open source development has again become prominent with the popularity of Linux, an open source operating system robust enough to win corporate approval and increasingly widespread use. This case looks at how companies such as Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel, and Sun Microsystems use open source in 2001 and the challenges and opportunities that open source software development poses to hardware and software makers and users.


Strategy formulation; Computer industry; Software development
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