Thursday, June 11, 2009

Could this work?

I am thinking of a business idea.
We have small shops all throughout India selling computer hardware. Along with this they sell or give pirated windows OS and MS Office for free. This is no doubt illegal an the only reason MS is mum about this is probably because of their business model. They would like the world to be dependent on them so that most applications are developed for Windows. They can anytime enforce the anti-piracy crusade making people buy their OS.
Is it possible to create a niche for oneself in this market by promoting open source software? Most of the home users tend to use multi-media, web-browser and office tools like word editor and spreadsheet. With the wide gamut of Linux flavours available now and companies like Open Office spending a lot of time and talent on development, I think is it very much possible. This can even be coupled with user training in these areas. Spreading the usage of open source software among the lay users and small business users can create a strong base for the development of open source software.
Even if one such enterprise opens shop in every town and city in India, it can then have a community based support system. A common knowledge pool can be created to support existing and upcoming players. This community can then even churn out training material, methodology, support strategy for open source software. They can be also a authentic feedback system for companies developing open source software.
Till the time open source does not come into the public domain and remains the interest area of the geeks, it's spread and hence growth will be limited. The day my wife is forced to use a laptop with Ubuntu...would be the dawn of a new era!
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