I am not the bad guy
Being at EclipseCon, I was hanging out with several IBM developers tonight. They referred to me as the Bad Guy since I work for Microsoft. Apparently, guys who work on open source projects are good guys and companies providing closed source projects are bad guys. First, let me clarify that IBM has many closed source projects. The more interesting question is why do companies give away stuff or promote giving away stuff and why they sell other stuff. The answer comes from Juval Lowey. He told me this last summer. Companies try to commoditize products that are complimentary to their main offerings. Microsoft’s main business is selling software. Microsoft will do what it can to commoditize and bring the price of hardware down. If Microsoft can give everyone a free computer, so they can buy and put software on it, Microsoft will do it. On the other hand, IBM is in the business of consulting. So it is in their best interest to give away the software they have free of charge, so when their customers have it they can buy consulting on it. Google is in the business of selling ads on their properties on the internet. So they want to make sure you have access to the web, by setting up free WiFi access points around San Francisco and possibly other locals. No one is good and no one is bad. They each have different business models and they are interested in commoditizing products that are complimentary to their main offerings.