Instead of competing with open-source tools, IBM supported them. For example, it deployed 600 engineers whose sole job was to contribute to Linux, and it actively supported the development of Apache and Firefox, the open-source browser that competes with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.
IBM has predicted that open-source is going to win out in the end. The company could spend resources developing competitive products but chances are they ultimately would lose out. The open-source movement simply has too much momentum.
Rather than try to develop a competitive operating system in-house IBM supported the development of Linux, then designed and sold hardware and software that was Linux-compatible. IBM is harnessing the collective skill of thousands of engineers working collaboratively worldwide, and at no cost to IBM.
Like IBM, Sun has opted to forego revenues from software sales in favor of making money on auxiliary services and hardware. The price of software is rapidly declining to zero, and the big players are looking for other ways of making money.
— The Starfish and the Spider by Ori Brafman and Rod A. Beckstrom