James Governor's Monkchips

Roller swallows IBM: Whose blogging revenues are they anyway, Sun?

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IBM has now standardised on Roller as a blogging platform, which means group blogging, tagging, and full ATOM support.
Note to Sun: You need to get your act together and start selling Roller support services or IBM may get there first. You surely don’t want this to be another market where others make more money on your intellectual property than you do?
Like I said recently:
“The basic argument is that Sun would do well to build a new team tasked with putting pressure on its own software portfolio. This disruptive influence would ideally eschew technologies associated with the Java Enterprise System.
For now IBM and Microsoft are conflicted when it comes to enterprise blogging software- both companies are focused on selling tools from the Lotus and Exchange/RTC portfolios, so that they can’t just sell a thin slice of blogging functionality. IBM and Microsoft see blogging as a new feature to sell existing toolsets, rather than a new billable service in its own right. Its not about good enough, its feature function.”
Of course Sun has gained other major benefits from blogging than a direct revenue stream, but why not get a direct source of revenue from the platform as well? Roller on Apache, hosted or installed. Work out a licensing model and move on. You already have customers in production.
For now Roller is an internal tool at IBM, but how long before customers start asking for “the same thing you use”? When that happens IBM will work out a way to make money on the platform.  
Disclaimers: Sun is a client, IBM is a client. Microsoft occasionally pays us money.


  1. Wow, that’s quite a leap there. I’m not sure how you managed to extrapolate “DeveloperWorks is in the process of migrating their external weblogs over to a Roller 2.x based platform” to “IBM has now standardised on Roller” given the massive size of IBM and the many and varied business lines, groups, etc. A lot of interesting things happen at DeveloperWorks (not to mention Alphaworks) that don’t get deployed at the rest of IBM. I’m pretty confident the SWG folks will continue to use the platforms they build and sell (and have incorporated blogging into) for their blogging efforts.

  2. Maybe standardized is too strong a word, but according to the big blue bloggers, IBM is using Roller as it’s primary internal (the 2000+ blogs at BlogCentral) and external (the couple dozen blogs at DeveloperWorks) blogging solution.

  3. You make a good point. I feel that Sun got so marveled with the JES suite that it forgot that point products still have their space.
    It makes perfect sense to integrate Roller in Sun’s Portal Server but that shouldn’t be done at the expense of an independent roller with a set of services around it.
    We’re, once again, back at the same point. Go big or go Home and Sun need to grow. A lot of Sun’s solutions aren’t getting nearly enough attention. Roller is simply one of those.

  4. nailed, Jaime. absolutely nailed. Roller as a point service – its not rocket science.

  5. Roller -> Sun’s intellectual property?

  6. > Roller -> Sun’s intellectual property?
    Hum??? No! But Sun has been investing in it (I believe Dave Johnson now works for Sun, for example)

  7. sorry henri that is a very good point. that was a bit sloppy of me. to jaime’s point, given Sun is paying Dave’s salary, and is invested in roller in a way no other vendor is, i mispoke. its open source and therefore not Sun’s IP. Notice that Dave didn’t pull me up on that.

    IBM and Sun both contributed to Java- which is also not Sun’s IP. I should have said not making money on a shared intellectual property model.

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