Jim Rapoza at eWeek had an interesting suggestion in regard to the Adobe/Macromedia merger. He notes that the sorting and sifting that follows most software mergers leads to some products fading away. Some actually get a funeral but often there is simply a loss of interest. Rapoza suggests turning over these orphans to the open-source community.
This probably sounds like folly. Companies just don’t do this sort of thing. However, IBM has certainly demonstrated that moving technology to the open source community can be a valid business strategy.
I have seen an acquiring company become “a deer in the headlights”–as the cost of maintaining/enhancing a product is weighed against the cost of offending customers by killing it. The latter cost isn’t taken lightly since these customers probably license software from both companies. It is not unusual to see critical business applications and processes that have been built around the specialty tools that are most likely the targets of such “alignments”. The integration investment often significantly exceeds that of the underlying tools.
Just a few short years ago this wasn’t even an option. Perhaps Rapoza is onto something.