People have already proven that big companies can be built using Open Souce software. 15 years ago Linux started as the hobby of a Finnish university student. Companies such as RedHat have built on his developments and created multi-billion dollar companies. RedHat alone has a market cap of 4.25 Billion US$.
It took 8 years for Linux to produce a company listed on the Stock Market whereas both Mambo/Joomla and Drupal are nearly 8 years old now. Can Joomla or Drupal produce a RedHat?
No, of course not – its a bit of dumb question I used mainly to bring attention to this post.
That said, what are the possibilities for companies working with and building on software such as Joomla and Drupal?
So far, companies involved in component and template design have not expanded beyond a few employees.? The following is a list of some of the larger Joomla firms:
- Ivivio.com. Good question. I would estimate a maximum of 10 people.
- Picnet.net. 5 people currently and will soon add 2 more.
- JoomlaShack.com. 7 full-time and 7 part-time staff.
- ELearningForce.dk. Around 5 staff members.
- iJoomla.com. 10 people.
- Phil-Taylor.com. 3 people including Phil.
Please remember that several of these companies lack “About Us” pages and some of these numbers are educated guesses. Feel free to post any corrections in the comments area.
Its clear that software sold at $50 can generate good profits for a small template or component development firm but the market is obviously limited.
The main area in which companies have been able to establish a foothold is hosting. Both Siteground.com and Rochen.com have had considerable success by providing reliable hosting tailored to Joomla and Drupal.
So where will growth be in the future? Perhaps with version of Joomla and Drupal that are tailored to the needs of larger companies.? Enterprise versions of Joomla or Drupal are not only possible but also likely in the future. I’ve already talked to people making steps in that direction.
So what additional features might enterprise versions of Joomla or Drupal look like?
- E-Commerce. Integration with Inventory systems and Accounting software.
- Improved API. Both Joomla 1.5 and Drupal 5.0 are very positive steps in that regard.
- Marketing. Greatly improved newsletter capabilities and Customer Relationship Management.
- Extensibility. The ability to use other databases than just MySQL and to flourish on Windows servers not just Linux.
I’m sure there are many more potential features that smarter people than me are working on. Anything web-based is hard to predict, but I believe that by 2009 we’ll be ready to see the first Joomla or Drupal company with 100 employees. The foundations are in place. It will be interesting to see whether any firms are able to take Joomla or Drupal and succeed in selling it to large businesses.