TechIQ just released a list of 10 OSS companies it feels will dominate in 2008. (I guess without writers for Letterman – this will have to suffice.) The list is pretty interesting – and its always nice when your company gets a nod – but I found it somewhat disturbing.
A lot of the companies are not necessarily application vendors. Sure, Sugar is up there, and so is OpenBravo. But what this list shows, is that there is still a LOT of room for disruptive open source startups in many, many areas. Without even breaking down the three areas of CRM (sales, marketing and service) there are adjacent areas like HR, supply chain and even compensation management, pricing optimization, etc. All told, there is a world of opportunity just sitting there.
Apart from the gaps in apps players, I do see some interesting parallel trends. Mobile and web 2.0 are major buzzwords in the proprietary space, and are also in the OSS space with WordPress and Google Android. It is good to see open source and proprietary companies grow at the same time. Usually, a space matures through proprietary vendors becoming stagnant giants ripe for undercutting by OSS startups.
Sadly, this seems to continue to be the case in the general application software area. But I can’t see this staying the same. Just as SaaS vendors started popping up all over the application spectrum after SaaS CRM got hot, it will only be a matter of time before there are HR or SCM vendors using a commercial open source model and commanding attention in the respective spaces – the way SugarCRM did back in 2004-2005.